Discovery Farms are real working farms throughout Wisconsin's diverse agricultural landscape that are facing different environmental challenges. The Discovery Farms program is an effort by UW Extension and UW Madison that takes a real-world approach to finding the most economical solutions.
The Discovery Farms program develops on-farm and related research to determine the economic and environmental effects of agricultural practices on a diverse group of Wisconsin farms; and educates and improves communications among the agricultural community, consumers, researchers and policy-makers to better identify and implement effective environmental management practices that are compatible with profitable agriculture.
To achieve its mission, the Discovery Farms program will:
Work and communicate with a wide range of agricultural enterprises to determine the environmental impacts of production agriculture and create a reliable database of what different farms contribute in terms of environmental enhancement or degradation
Gather baseline information that includes not only environmental information, but also management practices and financial conditions that allow for the calculation of the cost of implementing environmentally sound practices
Determine the effects of environmental rules and regulations on the environment, farm profitability and farm management; and provide accurate information to producers, consumers, policy makers and agency personnel so positive steps can be made to protect both the environment and production agriculture
Work and communicate with agricultural producer groups, environmental groups, consumers, the University of Wisconsin, UW Extension, the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection, the Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, County Land Conservation Departments, and agricultural businesses and cooperatives on the importance of maintaining a viable agricultural economy
Identify the impacts -- both negative and positive -- that agriculture has in Wisconsin.
The Discovery Farms Program and UW Platteville Pioneer Farm are governed by a joint Steering Committee representing different farm and environmental organizations. The Discovery Farms/Pioneer Farm Steering Committee solicits input on nonpoint pollution information needs, identifies evaluation/demonstration project possibilities, selects projects for funding, and solicits Discovery Farms cooperators.
Steering Committee Members
Producer, Mineral Point
WI Pork Association
Poultry and Egg Association
Potato & Vegetable Growers
Professional Dairy Producers of WI
WI Farmers Union
Dairy Business Association
WI Milk Marketing Board
Producer, Soldier's Grove
WI Cattleman's Association
WI Soybean Growers
Producer, Fort Atkinson
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association
Wisconsin Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants
Producer, Lake Geneva
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
The committee, chaired by a producer, includes representatives from Wisconsin farm, agribusiness and environmental organizations. Each organization was contacted and asked to select a representative for their organization. Most of the Steering Committee members are producers. In addition, there will be a group of non-voting advisors representing various public agencies and the university system. The function and duties of the governing board are:
To provide overall direction to Discovery Farms and Pioneer Farm To assist in the selection of Discovery Farm cooperators, and on projects at both Discovery Farms and the Pioneer Farm
To provide regional assistance to Discovery Farm cooperators
To help in the dissemination of the DF/PF information to the membership of many statewide and local organizations
This Steering Committee provides oversight, direction and assistance/guidance to the programs. The steering committee is comprised of producers and representatives of the agri-business sector and the environmental community.