The Discovery Farms Model: The Impact of Helping Farmers Take Control of Water Quality Management

Animal Manure Management November 18, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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Abstract

Many states conduct water quality monitoring projects and within the past decade, sub-watershed and whole farm water quality monitoring has gained more traction as a preferred method to understand runoff and nutrient loading behavior.  The one aspect of these projects that has evolved is the level of partnering.  Partnering not just with technical and academic groups but fully partnering and involving the landowner or resource manager.  The Discovery Farms model is a great example of a fully partnered, adaptive management water quality monitoring project that began in Wisconsin and has grown to formally include North Dakota, Minnesota and Arkansas.  The main objective of the Discovery Farms projects is to fully engage producers in the identification and if necessary the reduction of nutrient and sediment losses from a variety of agriculture farming systems by collecting runoff data from real, working farms.  The program is founded on the belief that farmers who are engaged, educated and empowered with actual on-farm information will use the data to address water quality concerns.  The concept has demonstrated successes and is gaining interest around the country from producers and their commodity organizations.

This workshop will share experiences, successes, the principals of operation and key tasks needed to develop and implement Discovery Farms programs.  Among the four states; edge of field, tile drainage and feedlot monitoring is being conducted for a diverse set of agricultural production systems.  The purpose of the workshop is two-fold: 1) to provide guidance and advice to help other States develop plans and partnerships with stakeholder groups to build Discovery Farms programs in their respective States, and 2) allow participating farmers the opportunity to share what they have learned from the monitoring done on their farms and how they have reacted to that new knowledge.

Authors

Ron Wiederholt, North Dakota State University ron.wiederholt@ndsu.edu

Mike Daniels, Univ of Arkansas, Andrew Sharpley, Univ of Arkansas, Dennis Frame, Univ of WI-Madison, Warren Formo, Minnesota Discovery Farms

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

A recording is not available of Doyla Johannes (a North Dakota farmer) who is an active participant in the North Dakota Discovery Farms program, but his slides are below:

The North Dakota Discovery Farms Experience from LPE Learning Center

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.