Despite decades of efforts to improve water quality in the Gulf of Mexico, the hypoxic zone continues to threaten marine organisms and coastal communities. Agricultural production using high-disturbance tillage, inefficient fertilizer application, and winter fallowing is a leading cause of the nutrient and sediment inputs driving hypoxia in the Gulf.
The Farmer Driven Water Quality project was designed to increase the use of conservation grazing best management practices in the Kickapoo River watershed, part of the Mississippi River Drainage region to the Gulf, to achieve reductions in phosphorus and turbidity. This highly collaborative project combined technical assistance, cost share, decision support tool development (in partnership with Grassland 2.0), and water quality monitoring to see if concentrated resourcing on managed grazing can move the needle on water quality. Valley Stewardship Network and the Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council were key partners in practitioner outreach and engagement, educational event coordination, technical service provision, and water quality monitoring.
The project underscores the importance of farmer-led networks and direct resourcing of on-farm conservation efforts.
Years Active: 2019 – 2023
Center adds strength to network >>
This article, published in 2022 in Agri-View, provides an overview of the project and Wallace Center’s role in supporting place-based organizations to leverage federal funds for conservation.
Watershed Council celebrates successful grazing project >>
This article, published in 2023 in SW News, shares project impacts and how the Wallace Center, Valley Stewardship Network, and the Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council collaborated to advance good grazing in the watershed.