Introducing Division of Extension’s Agriculture Water Quality Outreach Specialists

Contact: John Exo or Amber Radatz Email:;

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Agriculture Water Quality Program is excited to introduce its four Outreach Specialists located throughout Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, there is significant unmet demand for outreach and education on the science of agricultural production impacts on water quality. With these outreach specialists, Extension now has increased capacity to communicate lessons learned and share solutions developed from research at Extension’s Discovery Farms monitoring sites, other UW researchers and other research institutions.

Beginning priority areas of focus will be:

  • Developing and delivering outreach programs in this and other content to the primary audiences of farmers, crop advisors and conservation professionals
  • Communicating the dynamics of sediment and phosphorus loss from agricultural landscapes
  • Recommending farm practices to reduce particulate and dissolved phosphorus losses to lakes, streams and wetlands
  • Recommendations to reduce nitrogen losses to groundwater from below the root zone

Agriculture Water Quality Outreach Specialists

Chelsea Zegler is located in Madison and serves Southern Wisconsin’s agriculture water quality outreach needs. She received her Bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison and continued there to complete a Master’s in Agroecology, where she focused on forage production and soil health on dairies across the state, partnering with the USDA-Dairy Forage Research Center and industry partners. Chelsea was previously the Dane County Extension Crops and Soils Educator. Reach Chelsea:

Laura Paletta is located in Green Bay and will serve the eastern part of the state. She completed her Masters in Soil Science from UW- Madison in 2017 and then continued to do research for three more years. Her research focused on using best management practices to reduce sediment and phosphorus losses. She spent the past two years working at Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Dept as a resource conservationist. Reach Laura:

Rachel Rushmann is located in Eau Claire and will serve the western part of the state. Rachel worked nearly seven years developing and managing DATCP’s Producer-Led Watershed Protection program. Prior to working at DATCP, she was a program manager for the farmer-led group, Yahara Pride Farms, near Madison, WI. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in Agricultural and Applied Economics. Reach Rachel:

Commercial Vegetable Agriculture Water Quality Outreach Specialist

Guolong Liang is a Commercial Vegetable Agriculture Water Quality Outreach Specialist with the Division of Extension and is based in Stevens Point. He is excited to contribute to building the network linking stakeholders in the space of agriculture and water quality. The primary audiences of his outreach and education will be farmers, crop advisors and conservation professionals in Central Sands. He has a background in irrigation and nutrient management of specialty crops. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Horticulture at UW-Madison. He is also devoted to advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion missions in agriculture. Reach Guolong:

The Agriculture Water Quality Program is a part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension’s Agriculture Institute. The program was formed in 2021 to address the growing demand for water quality outreach and education from science backed research on the impacts of agriculture on water quality and practices to reduce them.