Farms & Fish
Cultivation and Conservation
Teton Valley, Idaho epitomizes a “New West” blend of agriculture and recreation—from farming to fly-fishing, and ranching to rafting—with an economy and ecology that depend on sustaining healthy water and soil. Nationally recognized for our collaborative approach to watershed conservation, Friends of the Teton River is proud of our recent work and partnership with local agricultural leaders who believe that well-managed family farms and conservation can, and should, go hand-in-hand.
FTR’s Farms & Fish Initiative began with a request from the Teton Soil Conservation District to help local agricultural producers fundraise to purchase a no-till drill (2016). Only two years later, this program has received tremendous support from the community and funders.
Through partnerships with farming and ranching community and the Teton Regional Land Trust, we were awarded $750,000 in Natural Resources Conservation Service grant funding (2018-2021) that will provide financial incentives and support for local agricultural producers to participate in conservation farming practices, including no-till methods and planting cover crops; and voluntary agricultural easements that will keep “working lands working” in perpetuity. Through program successes in the next 2-3 years, we seek to demonstrate how agriculture can benefit farms and fish in Teton Valley, and how uncommon partners can cultivate success, together.
The Farms & Fish Initiative builds upon the relationships cultivated with our farming community and fifteen years of watershed science and research. FTR, together with the Teton Soil Conservation District, Teton County Farm Bureau, Teton Regional Land Trust, Henry’s Fork Foundation, and local elected officials, agricultural producers, and water managers, has formed the Teton Water Users Association. These partners are developing locally-based solutions for maintaining the viability and health of our working lands, open spaces, and stream corridors, while improving surface and ground water resources for the benefit of people, fish, and wildlife
FTR has also been part of the Teton Valley Soil Health Initiative, in which we raised $42,750 to purchase Teton Valley’s first piece of no-till farming equipment that will be used to pilot farming methods that will protect and improve water quality in the Teton River, while reducing soil erosion and improving agricultural business practices and returns. Our agricultural partners are anxious to use this technology on local farms, thanks to a low-cost rental program administered by the Teton Soil Conservation District and technical assistance by the local NRCS office.
“The bottom line is, if 100 years from now there are viable family farms on this valley floor and [fish] in our rivers like there are now, and ducks and waterfowl…if 100 years from now, all that still exists…everybody wins.”
Washington farmer Dave Hedlin,
from the film Unbroken Ground
Cultivating win-win community projects relies on the support and stewardship of people like you! Your donation to the Farms & Fish Initiative will help protect the land and water that sustains fish and wildlife, and the lives and livelihoods of our community.