Read the latest water-related news and events!
Read the latest water-related news and events!
A monthly e-newsletter from the North Central Region Water Network
June 2022 
Duluth Minnesota Skyline

Network News

In less than two weeks, the North Central Region Water Network team will be headed to beautiful Duluth, Minnesota for the Climate Intersections Conference. With increasing drought in the Northern Plains and warmer and wetter conditions throughout the Midwest, it is critical that we come together and explore how we, as natural resource professionals, can effectively foster resilience and equity in a changing climate.
Join us as we hear from experts, explore important questions and learn from one another. Haven't booked your ticket yet? Not to worry - you can register until Friday July 8th!
In addition to planning for our trip to the sunny shores of Lake Superior, we have other exciting news to share. Joe Bonnell, Regional Natural Resources Educator with UW–Madison Division of Extension, has been named Interim Director of the North Central Region Water Network. Joe will serve in the interim role through December 2022. Joe has over 20 years of experience in water resource management and served as the Ohio State University representative to the Network Leadership Team from 2013 through 2017. We are excited to have him on-board and to have Joe join us in Duluth! We hope to see you there!

-Anne Nardi, Network Communications
Photo credit: Great Plains Institute 
Farmer Leader discussing soil profiles at the Land Stewardship Summit

Network Spotlight
Strategies for Land Stewardship Summit cultivated space for cross-pollination about farmer leadership in conservation

On June 21st and 22nd, the North Central Region Water Network team and partners hosted the Strategies for Land Stewardship Summit in southern Wisconsin. The Summit brought together farmers, farm advisors, and conservation professionals from across the Mississippi River Basin to share ideas about how farmers can be successful and profitable with soil and water conservation practices.

The two-day day Summit started with a day-long field day that featured two farm tours by farmers who are active in soil and water conservation and great examples of farmer leadership. Read on
Precision mobile drip irrigation

Leadership Spotlight
Extending the usable lifetime of the High Plains Aquifer through hands-on education, community conversations and more

Susan Metzger is no stranger to the complex issues underlying efforts in Kansas to create sustainable solutions for water management. In a state where rainfall can differ as much as 30 annual inches from east to west, and the main irrigation source for much of the state is rapidly depleting, it’s imperative to integrate current science with forward-thinking water management strategies.

As the new Associate Director for Agriculture and Extension and Director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and Environment (KCARE) at Kansas State University, Metzger’s role will be just that: creating and facilitating strategic partnerships between experienced university scientists and stakeholders from the public and private sectors with the goal of creating long-term solutions for the sustainability of Kansas waters. Read on
Photo by K-State Research and Extension

In The News

Upcoming Events

Practical Farmers of Iowa 2022 Field Days

The Practical Farmers of Iowa have weekly field days through October 8th. Learn more

Small Grains Field Day

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

This event is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension at the Arlington Agriculture Research Station in Arlington, WI. The event will include presentations on small grain resiliency, disease management, and more! Registration is required. Learn more

Field School for Soil Health Educators
Tuesday and Wednesday, August 9-10, 2022

Join educators from across the Midwest to build skills for communicating soil health concepts. In the field, we’ll evaluate soil changes after using different tillage and cover crop planting equipment, and practice using a penetrometer under different field conditions. Presentations will cover manure management and cover crop nutrient uptake. Learn more

Iowa Soil Health Workshop

Thursday, August 4, 2022 

This workshop will help attendees how to evaluate soil health and communicate about soil health related topics more effectively. The workshop will provide both classroom and in-field learning opportunities for participants. Staff from NRCS, Extension, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, watershed coordinators, agronomists, and other agricultural service providers are encouraged to attend. Learn more

Great Lakes Coastal Symposium
Monday-Wednesday, September 19-21, 2022

The symposium will be hosted in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Participants will explore Great Lakes coastal systems in light of a changing climate, and discuss management and conservation approaches for coastal waters, vegetation, and wildlife. Learn more

Funding and Opportunities

Great Lakes PFAS Summit Abstract Submission - Michigan EGLE
Abstract submission is for the Great Lakes PFAS Summit taking place December 5-7, 2022. Topic areas include environmental behavior, and human and ecological impacts. Abstract submission deadline is July 1, 2022. Learn more

Regional Climate Outreach Project Manager - UW-Madison

This position is based in Madison, WI and will support a regionally collaborative project between the Midwest Climate Hub and five Extension programs in four Midwest states. The project aims to increase Midwest adoption of climate-smart activities including enhanced adaptation of working lands, better carbon management, and net-zero emissions agriculture. Applications are due by July 4, 2022. Learn more

Spring Challenge - The Stewardship Network

Since 2008, The Stewardship Network has conducted their Spring Challenge to aggregate and celebrate all manner of environmental stewardship efforts during the busy field season. This years event ends with a July 5th reporting deadline and activities of all sorts (and as far back as April 13th) qualify, so take a few minutes now and join us by submitting your hours. Learn more

Phosphorus: Lessons Learned from 10+ years of Numeric Phosphorus Criteria for Wisconsin's Water Abstract Submission - UW-Milwauke Center for Water Policy
The UW-Milwauke Center Water Policy is co-hosting a Phosphorus conference in February 2023. Abstacts should be related to the following themes: status of phosphorus levels in Wisconsin's water, compliance options for phosphorus numeric criteria, NR 151 agricultural performance standards, management challenges and solutions for farmers/producers. Abstracts of 500 words or less should be sent to by the August 31, 2022 deadline.


Farm Family Resource Initiative provides mental health support to agriculture community - WSIL News

It's been a stressful season for farmers. Only 15% of corn has been planted in Illinois so far this year, and only 11% of soy beans. The average for the last five years at this time of year is 58% and 30% respectively. Between weather, soil conditions, and global events, farmers have a lot on their plate. Read on

Business Case Study: Brey Cycle Farm - UW Discovery Farms

The business case studies series is produced by the Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grants program at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to highlight the environmental and financial benefits of conservation practices on farms in Wisconsin. This specific case study was created in partnership with Brey Cycle Farm, Tilth Agronomy and the Wisconsin Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). It evaluates the financial and conservation benefits of using managed intensive rotational grazing to raise heifers as part of the farm’s overall system. Read on

Uncovering best practices for cover crops to optimize crop production -

Planting cover crops is a beneficial agricultural practice. One of their many benefits is to cover soil for times when farmers cannot plant cash crops like corn and soy—over the winter, for example. But it is not as simple as just growing cover crops in between growing seasons. Farmers have multiple decisions to make about optimizing cover crop production.
Read on

Midwestern US has lost 57.6 billion metric tons of soil due to agricultural practices, study finds -

A new study in the journal Earth's Future led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that, since Euro-American settlement approximately 160 years ago, agricultural fields in the midwestern U.S. have lost, on average, two millimeters of soil per year. This is nearly double the rate of erosion that the USDA considers sustainable. Furthermore, USDA estimates of erosion are between three and eight times lower than the figures reported in the study. Finally, the study's authors conclude that plowing, rather than the work of wind and water, is the major culprit. Read on

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