Who We Are
In the spring of 2016, a group of farmers from the Dodgeville-Spring Green area, led by a young farmer named Michael Dolan, gathered in response to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) newly announced Producer-Led Watershed Protection grant program. Michael Fields Agricultural Institute worked with the farmers to write a successful grant proposal, and the Uplands Producer-Led Watershed Group was born. Our group is a mixture of large and small, conventional and organic, grain and livestock, and fresh produce and dairy farmers – a big tent. Our main resource concerns are protecting soil and nutrients lost through polluted farm runoff in this hilly part of the state, efforts to increase water infiltration into the soil, holding water on farmland where it's needed against droughts, and reducing costs of road, bridge, and culvert repairs, when increasingly frequent extreme storm events bring heavy rainfall. Our efforts directly affect multiple sub-watersheds that feed directly into the Wisconsin River, and further down into the Mississippi River.
In the spring of 2021, Iowa County’s Uplands Producer-Led Watershed Group expanded its boundaries to the west, to encompass the Otter Creek Watershed. If you are interesting in joining the group, or simply learning more, please fill out a short form and we'll be in touch with you soon.
Our group is nestled in the hilly landscape of Southwestern Wisconsin, known as the Driftless region. Unlike much of the rest of the state, this landscape was never glaciated, producing deep valleys and high ridges with soil highly susceptible to erosion. The region also has fractured bedrock in areas, which can move nutrients into the groundwater, sometimes before it's filtered.
Producers in our group lie within the Mill Creek, Lowery Creek, and Otter Creek watersheds, in Northeastern Iowa County. More specifically, this watershed is divided into multiple sub-watersheds, including the Meudt-Mill Creek, Knight Hollow-Mill Creek, Lowery Creek, and Rush Creek sub-watersheds, as mapped to the right. As we expanded into Otter Creek watershed, we included the Flint Creek, Outlet Otter Creek, Pompey-Pillar Creek, and Blackhawk Lake Otter Creek sub-watersheds.
What We Do
Outside of cooking up some of the freshest Gulf seafood and best grass-fed brats and burgers Wisconsin has to offer at our events, our producers work hard to stay updated on the most relevant information on best land management practices that protect our watershed's soil health and water quality. We share these first hand experiences, research, and good spirited conversation through events and collaborations with various organizations, farms, and agricultural/conservation agents. Take a look below to learn more about the conservation practices our producers use on their land, the story behind our connection with Gulf of Mexico fishermen, and the many farm tours and field days we host.
The Gulf Connection
What's shrimp, algae blooms, and the "Dead Zone" got to do with Wisconsin farming? Learn how the Mississippi river connects us all in more ways than you may imagine.
Interested in seeing our group in action? Come to one of our farm tours / field days! Here, you can learn about the events we've hosted previously and what's next in store.
Read the stories of the producers in our watershed group! Here, you can learn more about their history, farms, values, farming practices, and why they value this group and our collective work.