MAWQCP Insider - Celebrating 500 Certified Producers

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


January 2018

Congratulations to the over 500 Minnesota Agricultural Producers who have achieved Certification. These producers are managing over 300,000 acres, and are now officially recognized as Agricultural Water Quality Certified.  Their example demonstrates to all Minnesotans that farms are using agricultural best management practices that enhance the water quality of Minnesota’s rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater. 

Water Quality Protection

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP)  is a unique, award-winning program that ensures Minnesota’s farms and waters can prosper together. Producers who implement and maintain agricultural best management practices  and overall exemplary stewardship receive MAWQCP certification. In turn, they obtain "regulatory certainty" and are regarded as in compliance with any new water quality regulations for a period of 10 years. The certainty benefit is well-deserved: MAWQCP-certified farms have adopted more than 900 new conservation practices through their participation in the program, practices that are keeping tens of thousands of pounds of fertilizers and tens of millions of pounds of soil on farm fields every year. That’s both soil and dollars saved!


MAWQCP benefits participants in many ways, including regulatory certainty and being formally recognized for improving Minnesota’s natural resources. In addition, program participants have exclusive access to multiple sources of financial assistance. One example is USDA having designated the MAWQCP as a national demonstration project within the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). As a result, growers seeking MAWQCP certification were able to obtain more than $1.8 million in EQIP financial assistance this past year alone. Additionally, MAWQCP participants are automatically eligible for grants of up to $5,000 through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to offset costs of conservation practice adoption and management activities. This new source of supplemental assistance has been effective, and in just the first 13 months that grants have been available more than $294,000 has been granted to support the conservation activities of MAWQCP participants. And those dollars have further successfully leveraged an additional $519,000 from a host of other sources including NRCS, watershed districts, SWCD cost share, and producer contributions. Finally, it is important to also acknowledge the economic benefit of this kind of investment. According to USDA economists, dollars invested in conservation practices in Minnesota have a multiplier effect of 1.29 in our state’s communities. Therefore, the conservation total of $813,000 leveraged by the MAWQCP supplemental grants was responsible for adding more than a million dollars to Minnesota’s rural economy.

MAWQCP Leveraged Dollars graph


MAWQCP Farm Certification Reviews

Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certified farms will participate in at least one individualized certification review during the 10 year certification period. Reviews are scheduled to begin in early 2018. The process provides the opportunity to provide further support and assistance to MAWQCP-certified farms, review and gain insight on improving the certification process, and discuss any changes to the operation since time of certification.  A letter with more details will be sent in early February to all producers who will be provided reviews in 2018.

On the subject of reviewing operations and planning for next season, all MAWQCP-certified farmers should know they are still eligible to participate in the MAWQCP EQIP sign-up with our partners at USDA/NRCS. Both farmers applying for MAWQCP certification and those already certified are eligible for the NRCS financial assistance provided through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Begin by contacting your Certifying Agent. He or she can assess changes and assist you in seeking financial assistance. The sign-up deadline for 2018 RCPP EQIP is March 2nd. Additional EQIP funds will be available in 2019.

MAWQCP in the News

New Public-Private Partnership Brings Together Precision Agriculture and Conservation to Help Improve Water Quality in Cedar River Watershed

Cedar River Watershed Partners

A first-of-its-kind Minnesota public-private partnership is helping improve water quality and address water resource challenges including flooding and sedimentation in the Cedar River Watershed in southern Minnesota. The Cedar River Watershed Project is a collaboration between CFS Cooperative, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District, Environmental Initiative and Hormel Foods Corporation.

Through this work, farmers in the watershed, which covers parts of Dodge, Freeborn, Mower and Steele counties, work with CFS and Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN to help implement precision agricultural practices that address water quality issues. In turn, the farmers can become certified in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Mower SWCD, which rewards farmers for implementing certain practices that help improve water quality by offering specially designated technical and financial assistance and regulatory certainty for a period of ten years.

Read More

MAWQCP Certified Producer Named State Outstanding Conservationist 

On Tuesday, Aug. 8, farmer Bob Dombeck was recognized for his efforts of protecting Minnesota’s water quality and his certification in completing Minnesota’s Ag Water Quality Certification process. On Tuesday, Dec 5, the Dombeck family was named State Outstanding Conservationists by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Bob Dombeck is a third generation farmer of Toad River, LLC and Sandhill Dairy, Inc, Perham. He owns and operates Sandhill with his brother, brother-in-law and his father, taking care of 600 cows total and growing alfalfa, corn, soybeans and light and dark kidney beans.

MASWCD Annual Convention

When working through the water quality certification program, Dombeck said MAWQCP helped him by recommending conservation and management practices in protecting water quality. It has been a long process for Dombeck, but the fact that the program is voluntary and not regulatory has made the process more worthwhile.

“I think being voluntary gets more people to use the program instead of forcing it on people,” Dombeck said. “It also shows that we care for the land without being forced into it and that we are willing to pass these practices on to the next generations.”

(Summarized from Kaley Sievert’s 8/12/17 article in the Fergus Falls Journal)

Read More

Clean Water Land & Legacy logo

Certify your land, water and legacy for years to come.

Contact your local soil and water conservation district office to get started.