Jack Herricks’ land ethic and dedicated stewardship made his operation a perfect location for U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to get a firsthand look at climate-smart conservation practices on the landscape.
Herricks’ family-run operation in Cashton expands over 1,000 acres and supports a 600-head dairy heard. For decades, the Herricks family has implemented conservation practices that preserve the landscape.
Their practices include no-till planting, erosion control structures, grassed waterways, and wildlife improvement projects. Over the years, Herricks has increased his soil organic matter from 2% to between 4%-6%. Each percentage increase in soil organic matter can hold an inch-equivalent of rainfall. Additionally, healthy soil can store more carbon, which means it can produce its own nutrients and reduce the need for additional crop inputs.
County Conservationist Bob Micheel has worked closely with Herricks and others on the Monroe County Climate Change Task Force to address the increasing intensity of weather events in the Driftless Area. “We can’t build our way out of it, and so we need to pursue ways to mitigate the impacts of these events,” said Micheel.
As a policy maker, Sen. Baldwin found the tour extremely informative. “I study the policies and I know about cover crops, I know about contouring, but to come and see it. That’s where the light bulb goes off for a policy maker and then I can explain, especially to my colleagues who don’t represent rural states.”
WXOW News 19
“Herricks Dairy Farm is an example of a farm family that has taken conservation to heart. They understand their role as stewards of this creation and have instituted a number of farming practices to prevent erosion and flooding. The Herricks’ show that tending to soil health and water quality locally can play an important role in mitigating the threats of climate change and extreme weather across our region. With targeted investments in agricultural conservation, we can prompt both resilience of the land and economic resilience among our farmers.”