Discovery Farms develops on-farm and related research to determine the economic and environmental effects of agricultural practices on a diverse group of Wisconsin farms. We partner with the UW-Madison Division of Extension Agriculture Water Quality Program to educate and improve communications among the agricultural community, consumers, researchers and policymakers to better identify and implement effective environmental management practices that are compatible with profitable agriculture.
Discovery Farms works with a wide range of agricultural enterprises to determine the environmental impacts of production agriculture, and what various farms contribute in terms of environmental enhancement or degradation. We maintain a reliable database that includes not only environmental data, but management practices and financial conditions that allow for determining the cost of implementing environmentally sound practices.
We partner with the Agriculture Water Quality Program and connect with agricultural producer groups; environmental groups; consumers, the University of Wisconsin; Division of Extension; the Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection; the Department of Natural Resources; the Natural Resources Conservation Service; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; County Land Conservation Departments; and agricultural businesses and cooperatives.
Discovery Farms is governed by a Steering Committee. This farmer-led group identifies program priorities and participates in the selection of research locations. Duties of the Steering Committee do not stop at the board meeting door. Farmer leadership is a crucial component of Discovery Farms. The Steering Committee, as well as farmer cooperators, stay involved year-round.