PPF 2023 results

Door and Kewaunee County farmers continue adopting new conservation practices

Annual report shows sustainable farming progress in 2023

CASCO, Wis. ― Kyler Kinnard of Kinnard Highland Farm, a long-time Peninsula Pride Farms member, continues to learn with others in the group and implement new sustainable practices on his farm to better the environment and local community.

Kinnard Highland Farm is a multi-generational family-run dairy farm currently milking 250 cows and farming 650 acres. Kinnard and his cousin Brian joined the farm in 2015 and began implementing new technology including a robotic milking facility.

The Kinnards extend their adoption of innovation to their crop management, using conservation practices and trying new sustainable strategies. Implementing sustainable strategies is important to Kinnard and his family. They use contour strips on sloped land and buffer strips around wetlands and have recently been implementing more cover crops and no-till practices.

“We’ve been using more cover crops and trying out no-till practices,” Kinnard said. “It’s important for us to test out new strategies and see what works for us.”

Through the PPF’s Conservation Conversation programs and their annual meetings, Kinnard has had the opportunity to connect with like-minded farmers and learn more about cover crops, no-till practices and local sustainability research. Being open to change is critical.

“Being a part of this group of farmers, I’ve learned that just because things have always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it,” Kinnard said. “You have to be open to change and trying new things.”

Kinnard sees it as his duty to improve the soil health for future farmers and protect the water quality for his neighbors.

“We were reminded of the importance of community in 2022 when we hosted Kewaunee County’s Breakfast on the Farm,” Kinnard said. “It was amazing to see so many supportive community members; nearly 5,500 people were in attendance. They’re my drive and motivation to keep improving my farm’s sustainability for the good of our entire community.”

One of the keys to success in sustainable farming is recognizing your farm’s uniqueness, he said.

“I’d like farmers to be open to trying new things and know that not everything works the same way on every farm,” Kinnard said. “Different soil types require different practices, but we all have to do our part.”

Annual survey results

As part of PPF membership, Kinnard participated in their 2023 Annual Member Conservation Practice Survey. This is the fifth year the group has documented their collective sustainability efforts, sharing their progress with the entire community.

The group, composed of 54 farmers, implemented various conservation practices including: planting 21,990 acres of cover crops, using no-till and strip-till on 29,576 acres and planting into cover crops (otherwise known as “planting green”) on 8,383 acres. They also measured nutrient management impact on 74,150 acres.

The potential benefits of these practices:

• Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 4,453 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, which is equal to greenhouse gas emissions produced by 1,060 cars driven for a year.
• Prevention of sediment loss from farm fields of 38,359 tons, equivalent to 3,835 dump trucks’ worth of soil.
• Reduction of phosphorus runoff by 60,894 pounds, potentially preventing 30.4 million pounds of algae growth in local water bodies.

The data is based on analysis shared by Farmers for Sustainable Food and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

As one of the group’s close partners, The Nature Conservancy has seen the strides PPF has taken to improve its conservation efforts.

“The PPF members are keenly aware of the challenges that come with farming specifically in their part of the state. They are working hard to connect and share their learning experiences about conservation practices and their soil and water benefits with more producers located not only in Door and Kewanee counties, but across the state,” said TNC Associate Director of Agriculture Strategies Ricardo Costa. “The group makes it a priority to work alongside the non-farm community toward a more regenerative agriculture system.”

Farmers interested in joining PPF can find out more information at peninsulapridefarmsinc.org.

By the numbers
Number of acres covered by conservation practices among Peninsula Pride Farms members:
• 2019 ― 197,405
• 2020 ― 224,052
• 2021 ― 356,881
• 2022 ― 343,598
• 2023 ― 289,996
*Multiple conservation practices can be used on a farm field

Potential impact of conservation practices in 2023:
• Phosphorus runoff reduction ― 60,894 pounds
• Sediment erosion reduction ― 38,359 tons
• Carbon dioxide emission reduction ― 4,453 metric tons

About Peninsula Pride Farms:
Peninsula Pride Farms is a nonprofit organization of dairy and crop farmers and corporate members committed to protecting and improving ground and surface water in Kewaunee and southern Door counties in Wisconsin. The group leverages the ingenuity of the agricultural community, university research and scientists to implement practices with measurable outcomes. The group receives support from members and partners, including agricultural and environmental organizations and the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. More information: peninsulapridefarms.org.

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