The Water Quality Working Group (WQWG)—comprised of state and national staff—assembled last week in Janesville, Wisconsin, for the fall session of their biannual meetings. On Wednesday morning, the group discussed credit trading markets, Waters of the United States (WOTUS), wheat’s consideration as a cover crop, the Hypoxia Task Force, and nitrate/groundwater rules. The afternoon included a visit to Roger Rebout & Son’s Farm, where the group heard more about the work being done by Discovery Farms, Wisconsin Farmers on the Rock local watershed group and Illinois Corn’s Rock River program. Attendees also viewed one of the runoff monitoring stations located on the Rebout operation.
Thursday’s agenda focused on state updates regarding ecosystem markets, regional policy and programs, as well as included discussion of Farm Bill conservation policy and the Precision Agriculture Loan Program Act of 2021.
“Farmers understand what needs to be done and have been responding to these pressing issues surrounding water quality and sustainability,” said WQWG meeting facilitator Tom Hebert, who is an Ag and Environmental Consultant for the Bayard Ridge Group based in Washington D.C. “Our job—the job of this Water Quality Working Group—is to continue facilitating awareness by farmers, supporting and advancing their efforts where you can, and then documenting the efforts and accomplishments being made on these environmental fronts.”
The Water Quality Working Group brought together state corn staff representing Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and staff from the National Corn Growers Association. The WQWG will reconvene in spring of 2022.