US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack toured the Gardens at Michael Fields
June 12, 2015
MFAI hosted the Round Table discussion on the Oconomowoc River Watershed Water Quality Project held by US Secretary Vilsack this week.
Secretary Vilsack toured the Gardens at Michael Fields with Garden Manager Christine Welcher; the Gardens are the training ground for young farmer interns who come from around the world. He learned about the benefits of the Gardens new irrigation system, MFAI’s Sustainable Agriculture Education Program, and the Sustainable Cover Crop Research being done by MFAI’s Research Director Jim Stute. Michael Fields partners with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on the annual Wisconsin Cover Crop Conference. Stute says, “Cover Crops help build soil health, suppress pests and are a key component of climate change mitigation.” Stute and Secretary Vilsack discussed developing best management practices and documenting the financial benefits for farmers who use those practices, which should aid their mutual goal of increasing cover crop acreage.
The City of Oconomowoc has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on an innovative and exciting program called Adaptive Management to improve the water quality of the many lakes and rivers in the Oconomowoc River Watershed.
Top photo left to right: Christine Welcher, MFAI Garden Manager; Jimmy Bramblett, NRCS State Conservationist; Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture; Jim Stute, MFAI Research Director; David Andrews, MFAI Executive Director.
Photo credit: Rebecca Wasserman-Olin, MFAI Garden Apprentice