USGS - science for a changing world

Discovery Farms

Welcome to USGS Discovery Farms
Farm images

What is a Discovery Farm?

A Discovery Farm is an actual working farm or ranch whose operators are cooperating with local, state, and federal natural resource managers to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of various management practices in reducing environmental impacts while maintaining farm profitability.

Origins of Discovery Farms

The Discovery Farms Program was developed by University of Wisconsin personnel after visits to farm-research facilities in the Netherlands, where the effects of farming practices on environmental issues including water quality were being examined. After the visits, University of Wisconsin personnel and State agricultural leaders and producers organized various agricultural groups to design a program that would investigate water-quality issues facing Wisconsin agriculture. The result was a 2-part program, the first being Discovery Farms and the second being Pioneer Farm at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville. Although both parts of the program coordinate activities and research, Discovery Farms investigates total farm systems while Pioneer Farm investigates intensive production systems.

Locations of Discovery Farms

The map below shows the states which currently have agricultural operations in the program. Click on the map to find out more about the Discovery Farms in each state.

Map of USA Discovery Farm locations

Scenes from the Discovery Farms

Discovery Farms scenes

The USGS would like to thank the following agencies for making photographs available that were used in the design of this website: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, the National Resources Conservation Service, and the North Dakota State Government postcard portal.
Minnesota Wisconsin North Dakota

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