Grant County Rural Stewardship (GCRS) gathered approximately 70 farmers, community members and representatives from various Southwestern Wisconsin organizations for a 3-hour program entitled "Soil Health & Diversity: Keeping Farms Economically & Ecologically Sustainable" on Saturday, Feb 22 in the Lenz Conference Center of Southwestern Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore. Co-sponsored by six other organizations with financial support from Food, Faith and Farming Network's Seed Money Program, the program was very well-received.

This event featured two Wisconsin Farmers discussing how the practices and diversity they utilize will make their farms sustainable in the future.

The first presenter Mike Miles, from Luck, Wisconsin, who began Anathoth Community Farm in 1986 spoke about the regenerative practices he has used on the farm for the past 12 years. Mike uses steers, pigs, chickens and cover crops to build soil microorganisms and produce tasty, healthy meat. He is committed to sustainable practices and shared how they are helping to mitigate climate change.  

Following Mike's presentation, Scott Mericka shared the story of Grass Dairy, LLC, a 200 cross-bred cow farm in the Dodgeville area.  He talked about how he utilizes rotational grazing with a variety of crops including forage sorghum, winter rye, forage kale, oats and peas. Most of Grass Dairy's milk is marketed through their own on-farm cheese plant, Upland Cheese Company, which is operated by Scott's business partner Andy Hatch.

During the break between presentations attendees were able to share information and visit display tables staffed by many of the co-sponsoring organizations.

At program-end, participants completed evaluation forms and shared how valuable the program was. They encouraged GCRS to offer like events in the future and suggested topics they would like to see covered. They stressed the importance of regenerative agriculture meetings in educating and supporting our young farmers and small family farms. 

The event was co-sponsored by Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Grant County Farm Bureau, Organic Valley, Crawford Stewardship Project and Valley Stewardship Network with financial support from Food, Faith & Farming Network. To learn more about Grant County Rural Stewardship click here.