Learn About Partnering for Progress

Partnering for Progress is a collaboration of Gathering Waters: Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers...and YOU!

Partnering for Progress, the host of the Wisconsin Barn Dance and Chautauqua, is a collaboration of three nonprofit organizations; Gathering Waters: Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers; and our event host, the Saxon Homestead Farm.

Agriculture and food production are the foundation of Wisconsin’s social fabric and economy—it’s a $59 billion industry. And one that depends on the state’s agricultural and forestry lands. Together, we conserve Wisconsin's working lands, support beginning and continuing farmers, and sustain vibrant communities to improve the quality of life in Wisconsin.

In 2009 we held our first old-fashioned barn dance on an historic, working dairy farm to celebrate Wisconsin's farmers, working lands, and rural heritage.  Since then the barn dance has become an annual event and has grown to include a traditional under-the-tent Chautauqua to provide a venue to advance the dialogue of issues we all care about.  

Collectively, we recognize the need to conserve the state's natural resources for everyone's benefit. We're building partnerships and raising funds to improve the quality of life in Wisconsin.  Most importantly, we understand that none of this would be possible without you -- the people who support our work and care deeply about the future of Wisconsin. 

Thank you!

Barn Dance Host

Saxon Homestead Farm LLCis a fifth-generation, family partnership owned and operated by Robert Klessig and Kathleen Block-Klessig, Karl and Elizabeth Klessig, Gerald Heimerl and Elise Klessig-Heimerl, and their families. The farm combines rotational grazing, dairy cattle, dairy steers and seasonal calving as the agricultural operation’s foundation. It is dedicated to creating high-quality milk from an efficient and profitable production system; animal comfort; land, water, and environmental stewardship; and family and employee well-being.


Nonprofit Partners

Gathering Waters' mission is to help communities, land trusts and landowners protect the places that make Wisconsin special, and was a key partner in the effort to get the Working Lands Initiative passed into law. As the service center for Wisconsin’s 50-plus land trusts, Gathering Waters has long recognized the need to empower land trusts and local communities to protect farmland.


Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) is the leading environmental advocate on the waters of northeast Wisconsin fostering stewardship in the planet’s largest watershed and taking action to champion the environment. As a diverse group of people, it uses education and coordination to support local communities’ efforts to maintain or improve our natural resources’ health. LNRP builds partnerships, provides funding, promotes a forum for discussion and supports activities advocating a balance between land use and natural resource management, conservation and protection.


The Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers (WSBDF) is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and Farm and Industry Short Course. In addition to the U.W.-Madison location, it offers distance-learning education at ten sites throughout Wisconsin. The WSBDF emphasizes business planning and pasture-based farm management. Experienced grazers, business leaders and U.W. faculty lead seminars. Coursework demonstrates how pasture-based farming is the lowest-capital approach to farming and how the pasture-based system protects soil, water and wildlife resources.