Online & On-Air

Meet people who are protecting places they care about with neighbors, right now, where they live

Boots on the Ground

Live Online Conversation Series

Boots on the Ground live conversations connect you to local groups working for sustainable farms and streams.  Read More

Current programming is on hold so our farmers can get through the busy harvest season. Check back later this year for more updates.

Neighbor to Neighbor

Live Radio Series

Neighbor to Neighbor radio features Midwest neighbors who are working together for resilient farms, soil, streams and fish.  Read More

Current programming is on hold to allow our farmers to get through the busy harvest season. Check back later in the year for more updates.

Neighbor to Neighbor | Peno Creek Cooperative Partnership

July 17, 2021
John Scherder planted cover crops in a difficult year, saw their benefits and never turned back. A strategic[...] View more
× John Scherder planted cover crops in a difficult year, saw their benefits and never turned back. A strategic plan turned fisheries biologist Chris Williamson’s attention from Peno Creek to the land, to protect the stream. The two connected in a meeting where listening was the focus. And from there a small group found a way to make trying cover crops easy. In this edition of Fishers & Farmers, Neighbor to Neighbor, Scherder Family Farms owner John Scherder and Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries regional lead Chris Williamson tell how they connected, how Fishers & Farmers Partnership funding and workshops energized their work, and how they turned a ripple of interest into a wave of cover crop adoption.
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Boots on the Ground | Seven Mile Creek Watershed Partnership

July 15, 2021
For Seven Mile Creek Watershed Partnership, more than 20 years of meaningful connection, on-farm projects and active public[...] View more
× For Seven Mile Creek Watershed Partnership, more than 20 years of meaningful connection, on-farm projects and active public interest slowed to a thoughtful pause just before the pandemic. Resisting the reflex to charge ahead, project partners used that time to look closely at what is needed now, who is ready to lead, and what practices will help area farming neighbors meet financial, social and conservation goals. In this conversation, meet Seven Mile Creek area farmers Nick Peters and Ben Penner, University of Minnesota manure management specialist Melissa Wilson, Eric Miller, Nicollet County Soil & Water Conservation District watershed technician, and Brad Gordon, southern Minnesota program manager for Great River Greening. Learn how they identified next steps, developed a series of videos featuring local producers and fish specialists, built on area farmers' successful work, and engaged Penner to systematically share his knowledge about integrating new crops such as Kernza in rotations. In this Boots on the Ground with Fishers & Farmers conversation series, meet people who are working together where they live to protect places they care about. Ask questions. Talk with peers. Leave inspired.
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Women for the Land + Learning Circles for Women Nonoperating Landowners

June 19, 2021
In Livingston County, Illinois, 70-75% of farmland is leased—well above upper Midwest state averages of 40-55%—and a large[...] View more
× In Livingston County, Illinois, 70-75% of farmland is leased—well above upper Midwest state averages of 40-55%—and a large percentage of landowners are female. Becky Taylor leads learning circles there for women landowners, often heirs of local farm families who want to be good land stewards but haven’t previously been responsible for farming decisions, don’t feel comfortable at local farm events, and are not aware of resources available to improve the land. In this edition of Fishers & Farmers, Neighbor to Neighbor Livingston County Soil & Water Conservation District technician Becky Taylor tells how the learning circles work, and how they impact participants and the land. And Gabrielle McNally, director of American Farmland Trust’s Women for the Land program, shares how she is working with local partners to expand learning circles nationwide and meet the needs of new and beginning female farmers.
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Boots on the Ground | Farmers for Tomorrow

June 17, 2021
A first generation farmer doesn’t have the equity to fail. Matt Hintz has made it work by no-tilling[...] View more
× A first generation farmer doesn’t have the equity to fail. Matt Hintz has made it work by no-tilling 1000 of his 1500 acres and thinking differently about marketing and crop selection. “Success,” he says, “is not yield per acre, but return per acre and sustainability.” In the Tomorrow-Waupaca River Watershed where Matt and his family live, they do not drink their own water. “As a farmer,” he says, “I want to change that.” In this conversation, meet Matt Hintz. Learn how he and neighbors established Farmers for Tomorrow, and are applying what they know about soil health to achieve their water goal together. University of Wisconsin Extension agriculture agent Ken Schroeder will be on hand to share what it takes organizationally to make it work.
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Boots on the Ground | Polk County Iowa SWCD

May 20, 2021
Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District's board and local partners asked how one effective practice—saturated buffers—could be[...] View more
× Polk County Soil & Water Conservation District's board and local partners asked how one effective practice—saturated buffers—could be scaled from one or two per year to many. The result is a general contractor/bid approach that is on track to install 54 saturated buffers and biofilters in 2021 at lower cost, greater speed, in a way landowners appreciate. In this conversation, meet elected officials Katie Rock and John Norwood, Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition lead Keegan Kult, landowner Lee Tesdell, and Polk County Watershed Coordinator Tanner Puls. Learn how they shaped a new system to meet their goals and share with others. Sharpen your questions by previewing our February 2021 Neighbor to Neighbor podcast featuring this group.
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Middle Cedar Partnership Project & Black Hawk Creek Coalition

May 15, 2021
Downstream in Iowa’s Middle Cedar Basin, the City of Cedar Rapids faced tragic damage and economic loss after[...] View more
× Downstream in Iowa’s Middle Cedar Basin, the City of Cedar Rapids faced tragic damage and economic loss after a major 2008 flood, and high Nitrogen counts in drinking water sources. Upstream, landowners and farm operators wanted to increase farm resilience and minimize runoff and Nitrogen loss. Some feared regulation. In this edition of Fishers & Farmers, Neighbor to Neighbor, meet City of Cedar Rapids Utilities Environmental Manager Mike Kunst, and Clark Porter, Porter Family Farms manager and Miller Creek Watershed Project coordinator. Learn how good questions in the face of big challenges moved them out of old routines and into a web of connection and action for farms, streams and communities they care about.
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Farmers of Mill Creek & Petenwell Castle Rock Stewards

April 17, 2021
After presenting at a meeting, farmer John Eron walked up to lakeshore owner Rick Georgeson and said, “You[...] View more
× After presenting at a meeting, farmer John Eron walked up to lakeshore owner Rick Georgeson and said, “You bring lake people to my farm, and I'll bring farmers to your lakes.'" From there a relationship grew that has healed old wounds, opened minds, improved soil and water, energized two communities, and inspired new alliances in the Wisconsin River watershed. Says Eron, “The lake group has given money for a no-till drill and a roller crimper to be rented to farmers for trials. But our greatest successes have come from being silly, noticing people, and dissolving judgements.” Hear how farmer John Eron and sailor Rick Georgeson got involved in something they never expected, and what it’s brought to their lives.
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Boots on the Ground | Shoal Creek Woodlands for Wildlife

April 15, 2021
Rachel Hopkins uses the word “heartburn” to describe moments when she and her dad, Steve Yokom, size up[...] View more
× Rachel Hopkins uses the word “heartburn” to describe moments when she and her dad, Steve Yokom, size up new conservation practices for their Missouri farm. Both have a keen eye for business, but change can demand a deep swallow. Rachel credits local landowners and conservation managers who had a conversation in 2008 for making it easier. “There wasn’t much trust in the room that day,” she says, “but we needed to hear what was bugging everyone and figure out what we could do together.” The group became Shoal Creek Woodlands for Wildlife, a bottom-up, self-organized farmer-led committee. Fisheries biologist Rob Pulliam, who helped get things started, says, “Everyone participated in scoping our challenge, identifying needs, setting goals and implementing practices.” In this conversation, meet Rachel, Rob and Abigail Lambert, Ozark Land Trust river stewardship manager. Hear how their flexible collaborative gets things done
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Neighbor to Neighbor | Cannon River Watershed Partnership

March 20, 2021
Eleven farmers who intensively planted cover crops in Minnesota’s Rice Creek watershed since 2018 now see better stream[...] View more
× 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. 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 wok in one community.
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Boots on the Ground | Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Water

March 19, 2021
In 2015 farmer Tony Peirick and lake shore owner Bill Boettge wanted to protect Dodge County, Wisconsin lakes[...] View more
× 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. In fact, that’s exactly what happened. 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. In this conversation, meet Tony, Bill and county conservationist John Bohonek. Learn how they're opening eyes to the connection between land and water. Says Tony, “It’s been phenomenal to see what happens on farms around the county. I never thought this would happen! It HAS TO happen, and IT IS happening.”
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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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