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Yahara Pride Farms two Twilight meetings this past August: The first in the northern part of the Yahara watershed at Badgerland Grain Farm in Evansville, and the second in the southern part of the watershed at Henry Farms in Dane. Both Badgerland Grain Farm and Henry Farms have completed the YPF certification program which helps farmers document how their farm protects soil and water quality and identify high-risk situations and practices that need to be modified.

The Twilight meetings were organized to encourage new farmer participation in both the northern and southern areas of the watershed, to update currently involved farmers on new projects and to have candid discussion about conservation practices. Current projects were discussed such as the composting pilot program, manure equipment rental and the upcoming paid for performance program.

“We chose to host evening twilight meetings because we wanted to create a place where farmers could to get together and casually share ideas about conservation practices,” said Bob Uphoff, vice chairman for Yahara Pride Farms.

Between the two meetings, more than 100 farmers and allied partners engaged in discussion about conservation practices and opportunities to grow participation in Yahara Pride Farms’ cost-share and certification programs.

A key takeaway from the meeting was that results from conservation practices will vary from farm to farm. It takes a bit of trial and error to find out what practices suit each farming system. Having farmers come together to have candid discussion to share experience and expertise provides the opportunity for growth within each farmer’s conservation plans and ultimately keeps the nutrients, such as phosphorus, in the farm fields and out of waterways.

Farmers learned about specific practices currently included in the cost-share program such as strip tillage, low disturbance manure injection (LDMI), cover crops, headland stacking, composting manure and stacking of multiple practices.

“We are concerned with the conservation of our land. We live on the farm, we raised our kids here and we want to use the best practices so that our community can enjoy this land for generations to come,” said Joe Henry, co-owner of Henry Farms.

About Yahara Pride Farms: Established in 2012, Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led 501c(3) non-profit organization that strives to preserve agricultural heritage while simultaneously encouraging farmers to engage in proactive environmental stewardship within the Yahara Watershed. Participating farms employ practices that result in the preservation and enhancement of soil and water resources for today, and for generations to come. In 2017, farmers in the program predicted a reduction phosphorus delivery to Madison lakes and the Yahara River by 18,900 lbs. For more information, visit