Online & On-Air

Boots on the Ground online conversations and Neighbor to Neighbor radio introduce you to people who are protecting places they care about with neighbors, right now, where they live

Boots on the Ground

Pontoons & Open Farm Gates in Dodge County

March 18 | 1pm

In 2015 farmer Tony Peirick and lake shore owner Bill Boettge wanted to protect Dodge County, Wisconsin lakes and streams, but dreaded stepping into a nonpoint source work group they feared would be a shouting match. And in fact, that’s about what happened. Read More

But because Tony and Bill connected, planned pontoon rides and cover crop showcases, and cultivated respect and trust among neighbors, Tony now hosts 150 people at soil health events, the lake association pays for cover crops, projects get done, and they’re actually having fun.

On Thursday, March 18 meet Tony, Bill and Dodge County conservationist John Bohonek. Learn how their fresh thinking is opening eyes to the connection between land and water, and changing the landscape. Catch their excitement. Says Tony, “Once we got on this path, it’s been phenomenal to see what happens on farms around the county. I never thought this would happen! It’s HAS TO HAPPEN and IT IS happening.”

This Boots on the Ground live conversation series connects you to local groups working for sustainable farms and streams. Join us the third Thursday of every month. It’s free. Pre-register to receive a safe link to the conversation by email.

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Neighbor to Neighbor

 Building Soil, Protecting Minnesota’s Rice Creek

March 20 | 9:05am

Eleven farmers who intensively planted cover crops in Minnesota’s Rice Creek watershed since 2018 now see better stream health, fish habitat, water quality, and farm profits. Read More

Monitoring shows that cover crops on 27% of tillable acres are keeping 9000 pounds of nitrate and 200,000 pounds of sediment out of the creek every year, and neighbors are taking notice.

In this episode of Fishers & Farmers, Neighbor to Neighbor radio meet producer Tim Little, who adopted cover crops and no-till after many years farming and now wonders why he didn’t think of it sooner. And hear how Al Kraus, conservation program manager at Cannon River Watershed Partnership, is bringing structure and energy to a web of respectful shared work in one community.

Neighbor to Neighbor radio, produced with Pam Jahnke and Midwest Farm Radio Network, broadcasts live the 3rd Saturday of each month at 9:05 a.m. Listen live here or access the podcast archive below after the broadcast.

Listen to Midwest Farm Radio Network Live Stream

Neighbor to Neighbor | Polk County, Iowa SWCD

February 20, 2021
For the past 20 years, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District has spearheaded Central Iowa watershed efforts.[...] View more
× For the past 20 years, Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District has spearheaded Central Iowa watershed efforts. About nine years ago, saturated buffers emerged as a useful water quality management practice for farms in the area, with one to two installed in the county every year. Because benefits are clear and the need to address water quality is significant, SWCD board members and local partners started asking about new targeted strategies that were faster, better and cheaper: How can green infrastructure be bundled to facilitate more saturated buffer installations every year, instead of one or two? They wanted to stop waiting for landowners to walk in the door and to take an active, focused approach to marketing and delivery.
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Boots on the Ground | Peno Creek Landowner Council

February 18, 2021
Biologist Chris Williamson didn’t think he’d ever lead a discussion about cover crops, or apply for money for[...] View more
× Biologist Chris Williamson didn’t think he’d ever lead a discussion about cover crops, or apply for money for cover crop seed. But when the Missouri Department of Conservation made Peno Creek a protection priority, his focus became the creek’s agricultural watershed. “In 2013 we knew we wanted to collaborate with farmers,” said Williamson. “But we didn’t know how. That turned out to be a good thing, because instead of developing a program and trying to pitch it, we listened.” In this conversation, meet Williamson, Peno Creek area landowners Curtis Delgman and John Scherder, and MDC’s stream and watershed chief, Sherry Fischer. Hear how this core team connected people, continued to listen, and turned a ripple of interest into a wave of cover crop adoption near Hannibal.
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Boots on the Ground | Root River Field to Stream Partnership

January 21, 2021
Since 2009, 47 farmers in three small southeast Minnesota watersheds have collaborated to monitor how water and nutrients[...] View more
× Since 2009, 47 farmers in three small southeast Minnesota watersheds have collaborated to monitor how water and nutrients move on their land, and to minimize soil and nutrient loss with targeted on-farm work. Now, what they’ve learned as part of the Root River Field to Stream Partnership is helping others make decisions across the 1 million acre Root River Watershed.   In this conversation meet Ron Meiners, farmer and conservation technician, and Kevin Keuhner, project lead. Hear how they connected with landowners, structured their work, brought in partners, and sustained relationships over time. Ron will take your questions about field walkovers that broadly expanded conservation practices in project areas. 
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Jo Daviess County Soil & Water Health Coalition

January 16, 2021
The idea of creating a farmer-led group was first floated by Galena, IL resident Beth Baranski, who had[...] View more
× The idea of creating a farmer-led group was first floated by Galena, IL resident Beth Baranski, who had an interest in local land and water issues. This grassroots group is now a monthly circle of friendship and a public forum where farmers, like Greg Thoren, share decades of knowledge about soil health. In this episode, meet Greg and now the group’s organizing secretary, Beth Baranski, who are building connection and watching a northern Illinois community come alive with interest in its land and streams.
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Tainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council

December 19, 2020
After months of knocking on doors and inviting farmers to talk about local soil and water issues, relationships[...] View more
× After months of knocking on doors and inviting farmers to talk about local soil and water issues, relationships started to form and openness grew. This led to real work—and an established group. Dani Heisler-Wodill of Valley Stewardship Network, who now coordinates for the group, says the Council now has about 30 members representing over 4,000 acres (or 12.5%) of land in Tainter Creek watershed.
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Boots on the Ground | Cannon River Watershed Partnership

December 17, 2020
A successful cover crop initiative in Minnesota's Rice Creek is  showing dividends in water quality, stream habitat and[...] View more
× A successful cover crop initiative in Minnesota's Rice Creek is  showing dividends in water quality, stream habitat and farm profits. Watershed monitors estimate that the cover crops on 27% of tillable acres are keeping 9000 pounds of nitrate and 200,000 pounds of sediment out of Rice Creek each year. Meet a watershed coordinator, a farmer, two college professors and a member of the SWCD who are breaking down barriers and working together to make all of this happen. This diverse group is managing practices, monitoring the stream, and spreading the word to neighbors.
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Boots on the Ground | Black Hawk Creek Water & Soil Coalition

November 19, 2020
Meet Clark Porter and Fred Abels, founders of Iowa's Black Hawk Creek Soil & Water Coalition, and current[...] View more
× Meet Clark Porter and Fred Abels, founders of Iowa's Black Hawk Creek Soil & Water Coalition, and current leads Jack Boyer, Vern Fish and Faith Luce. Hear how their local initiative began, what's worked (and hasn't) and how they're building a sustainable basin-wide initiative now. In this new Boots on the Ground Conversation Series, meet people who are working together right where they live to protect places they care about. Ask questions. Talk with peers. Leave inspired.
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RFD TV Interview| Fishers & Farmers Combines Sustainable Farming & Stream Management

October 19, 2020
Maintaining water quality is a top concern across the ag industry. A nearly 14 inch brook trout is[...] View more
× Maintaining water quality is a top concern across the ag industry. A nearly 14 inch brook trout is a trophy in most waters, but coming from a small stream in Minnesota farm country, it is even more noteworthy. This creek is showing water quality improvements in part because farmers upstream have made changes to farming practices. Some of those changes have been supported by a program called Fishers and Farmers. Click HERE to see the full interview.
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