Healthy soil and well-managed precipitation are what all farmers and ranchers depend on to grow crops.
Food is the most obvious connection between farmers and ranchers who produce it, and their customers who consume it. A less obvious, but equally important, connection between these groups is fresh water.
Water is the single most important constraint on our thirsty planet. It's as much a product of farmland as the food we consume.
The quantity and quality of our fresh water streams, lakes and underground aquifers are directly impacted by farmers and ranchers. That is why Sand County Foundation works at the intersection of upstream farmers and ranchers and downstream water users.
We demonstrate specific management practices that protect soil and water, utilize it more efficiently, and maximize the environmental benefits and productive capacity of agricultural systems. Sand County Foundation is a trusted partner to farmers and ranchers, which allows us access to private farmland to test, develop, demonstrate, monitor and promote new management tools.
Sand County Foundation is collaborating with farmers in southern Wisconsin to install strips of diverse native perennial vegetation within row crop fields. These prairie filter strips can improve water quality by capturing sediment and nutrients in water that runs off of fields, while also providing habitat for pollinators and grassland birds.
Furthering upstream-downstream partnerships in the Mississippi River Basin is the goal of a project spearheaded by Sand County Foundation.
Sand County Foundation is assisting a southeast Wisconsin village with outreach to farmers to implement conservation practices that will limit the amount of phosphorus entering local waterways.
The same gypsum used to make wall board may play a role in water quality improvement. Sand County Foundation is evaluating gypsum extracted from the exhaust of electric power plants and applied to cropland as a way to reduce phosphorus draining into lakes and rivers after intense rainstorms.