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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Gulf Fishermen Toast Wisconsin’s Uplands Farmers For Protecting Their Fisheries

Eighty five farmers, fishermen, agency, business, University, and non-profit group supporters – all enthusiastic eaters – gathered near Dodgeville in Southwest Wisconsin last Thursday evening, November 16, to celebrate farming conservation practices of Iowa County’s Uplands Watershed Group in Southwest Wisconsin. The evening highlighted stories of nine people affected by the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico – fishermen and their families, dock owners, and a wetlands specialist – who traveled to Wisconsin to share a spectacular seafood dinner and get to know watershed farmers.

Several of Uplands Watershed Group’s 18 farmers traveled last spring to the Louisiana Bayou, where we were treated to wonderful seafood, a day of trawling for shrimp in the Gulf, wonderful seafood, a tour of a shrimp processing factory, wonderful seafood, meetings with scientists studying the Dead Zone, and did we mention wonderful seafood? For last Thursday’s dinner, our Louisiana fishermen drove up with a shrimp boil, fried shrimp and fish, fish stew, and the dinner went on from there. “I’m impressed by the beauty and challenge they face every day,” said Wisconsin farmer Michael Dolan, who leads the watershed group. “It inspires me to work even harder to keep my nutrients on my farm and out of the flow down to the Dead Zone.”

Michael Fields Agricultural Institute provides administrative and organizing support for the Uplands Group. Many thanks to Wisconsin Farmers Union, Organic Valley, Strauss Brands, the McKnight Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, and our many other sponsors and collaborators for supporting this growing connection between Wisconsin farmers and Gulf fishermen.