MAWQCP Insider

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March 2021                                                                                      1,026 producers

                                                                                                               726,017 acres

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Climate Smart Farm Endorsement

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) has launched a new Climate Smart Farm Endorsement to recognize producers who are going above and beyond to implement practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon. This endorsement joins the line-up of three others that have been offered for the past year: Soil Health, Integrated Pest Management, and Wildlife.

With the emerging markets that can pay farmers for practices that store carbon in the soil and reduce emissions, undergoing the Climate Smart Farm Endorsement assessment is a good exercise to explore practices that will help you benefit financially in these markets.  The assessment includes a review of all acres and every rotation using index-based scoring that is size neutral.

Along with the learning opportunity, those that receive the Climate Smart Farm Endorsement will receive a field sign to pair with the Water Quality Certification sign and a chance to let neighbors know that you are doing your part as a Climate Smart farmer.

Interested in learning more? Contact your MAWQCP Certifying Agent.


Coming soon! Financial assistance for practice implementation

MAWQCP Regional Conservation Partnership Program Award

The MAWQCP Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award offers opportunities for water quality certified producers (or those seeking certification) to receive financial assistance for making improvements to their operations. The funding application will be available in the coming months so be in touch with your MAWQCP Certifying Agent to see what conservation practices will work for your operation and be eligible for this financial assistance. Over $1.5 million will be available per year for the next 4 federal fiscal years. Funding is aimed to help program participants install or adopt conservation practices that will benefit water quality throughout the state. Eligible practices and payment rates are posted by NRCS annually, and the funding can be used for practices needed to get certified or improvements when certified.


Meet a Water Quality Certified Producer

Hjelle Farm

Brent Gulbrandson, Technical Manager with Grant SWCD (left), and Jim Lahn, MAWQCP Area Certification Specialist (right), presented the Hjelles with their certification sign.

Glenn and Paula Hjelle recently joined the ranks of over 1,025 Water Quality Certified producers in Minnesota.

The Hjelles use conservation tillage and plant cover crops, both of which reduce soil erosion rates and protect water quality.  The nearby lakes and streams are further protected by adjacent grassed filter strips which slow down runoff water.  The Hjelles also practice careful nutrient management and pest management as they produce corn, soybeans, and wheat. 

Check out the MAWQCP story map to get to know some of the other certified producers across Minnesota!


Farm Business Management Scholarship

Farm assessment

In January the MAWQCP launched a new scholarship for certified producers enrolled in the Farm Business Management Program.

The Farm Business Management Program is a one-on-one, student-led program designed to provide education to farm owners and operators. The program helps students to meet their business and personal goals and focuses on using quality records and sound business decisions with tools and other resources. The MAWQCP Farm Business Management Scholarship will award $140 per credit (approximately 75% of the cost of tuition) for new Farm Business Management students in their first and/or second semester of the program and $90 per credit (approximately 50% the cost of tuition) for returning students in their third semester or beyond. 

The application for the 2021-2022 academic year will be available soon. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be MN Agricultural Water Quality Certified. To apply, contact a Farm Business Management instructor

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News and Events

1,000 Minnesota farmers and landowners now enrolled in Ag Water Quality Certification Program

Certified producer with field sign

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) has reached the milestone of enrolling 1,000 farmers and landowners from across the state. Now, more than 715,000 acres of land are helping to protect the state’s water resources.

“Water quality is important to all Minnesotans, especially those that care for the land, and we want to thank everyone that has stepped up to protect and restore our state’s lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater through the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We can be assured these certified farmers are managing their operations to protect water quality now and into the future.”

Since the start of the program in 2014, the Ag Water Quality Certification Program has:

  • Added more than 2,050 new conservation practices
  • Kept near 38,500 tons of sediment out of Minnesota rivers
  • Saved 110,000 tons of soil and 48,500 pounds of phosphorous on farms
  • Reduced nitrogen losses by up to 49 percent
  • Reduced the equivalent of over 39,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year

The program is on target to meet Governor Tim Walz’s goal of enrolling one million acres by the end of 2022.

Read the full article

Visit the We Are Water MN Exhibit in Rochester

We Are Water MN

We Are Water MN is a traveling exhibit that examines water issues statewide and in local communities through personal stories, histories, and scientific information. It strengthens Minnesotans’ relationships with water, exposes visitors to new perspectives, and increases participation in water stewardship activities.

We Are Water MN will be opening at the Rochester Art Center on March 11. Included in the exhibit you will find stories about MAWQCP certified producers and the conservation practices they have implemented to protect water quality.

MAWQCP Advisory Committee Meeting

The next Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for March 31 from 9:00am-12:00pm. The meeting will be virtual and is open to the public. If you would like to attend please email for more information.

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

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