“Wildly Successful Farming” benefits people, wildlife, lakes, and rivers

Author of new book that documents how farming can produce crops while reducing negative impacts will lead discussions at two libraries near St. Croix tributaries.




3 minute read

Common Harvest CSA farm near Osceola, Wisc. (Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360)

Wildly Successful Farming: Sustainability and the New Agricultural Land Ethic – St. Croix River region events

Deer Park Public Library
Feb. 19, 2019 – 6:30 p.m.
112 Front Street West
Deer Park, WI 54007

River Falls Public Library
March 5, 2019 – 7 p.m.
140 Union St.
River Falls WI 54022

An environmental journalist is bringing his book about farmers who are changing the agricultural system to the St. Croix River region. Brian DeVore will host book readings, discussion, and signing in Deer Park, near the upper Willow River, and River Falls, on the Kinnickinnic River.

DeVore is an editor with the Land Stewardship Project and has contributed to numerous agriculture and environmental publications. He grew up on an Iowa farm and managed a dairy cooperative in Lesotho, Africa while serving in the Peace Corps.

His new book Wildly Successful Farming shares stories about farmers throughout the Midwest “who are balancing profitability and food production with environmental sustainability and a passion for all things wild.”

The book was published in October 2018 by the University of Wisconsin Press.

“Most Americans have forgotten that the success of agriculture depends on the wild world it so often displaces,” said Lisa M. Hamilton, author of Deeply Rooted. “These farmers remind us that those two vital elements need not be mutually exclusive—indeed, the success of food production depends on a healthy natural world.”

Thank you to St. Croix 360 reader Dana Jackson, who brought the book and the event to my attention after the recent article about the farmers of the Horse Creek Watershed Council.

Brian DeVore

As a variety of people and organizations seek to find balance between agriculture and clean water, DeVore’s book offers inspiring examples.

According to the book website, Wildly Successful Farming “documents innovations in cover cropping, managed rotational grazing, perennial polyculture, and integrated pest management. His accounts provide insight into the impacts regenerative farming methods can have on wildlife, water, landscape, soils, and rural communities and suggest ways all of us can support wildly successful farmers.”

That’s not to say America’s agriculture problems are solved. It’s no simple matter to have a significant impact on big issues like the decline of pollinators and birds, farm runoff contaminating lakes, rivers, and groundwater, the loss of topsoil, and family farms that struggle financially.

“DeVore is careful in this book, as he was in our interview, to avoid any suggestion that this notion of “wildly successful farming” … presents any quick or easy fix for the practices so predominant now,” MinnPost columnist Ron Meador wrote when the book was released.

[su_button url=”https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5621.htm” target=”blank” size=”5″ radius=”5″ icon=”icon: cart-plus”]Purchase “Wildly Successful Farming” from the UW Press[/su_button]