DGA Update: Study Says Water Quality Certified Farms Show Higher Profits

A new study by the Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence shows that farmers enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) had higher profits than non-certified farms.

The MAWQCP is a voluntary program for farmers and landowners that protects the state’s water resources by putting farmers in touch with local conservation district experts to identify and mitigate any risks their farm poses to water quality. Producers going through the certification process have priority access to financial assistance to help them the fix or correct any issues on their farm. Since the program’s statewide launch in 2016, 1,038 farms totaling over 734,000 acres have been certified across Minnesota. Farms have added 2,095 new conservation practices, which protect Minnesota’s waters. The program is on target to meet Gov. Tim Walz’s goal of enrolling one million acres by the end of 2022.

The “Influence of Intensified Environmental Practices on Farm Profitability” study examined financial and crop production information from farmers enrolled in the Minnesota State Farm Business Management education program. The 64 MAWQCP farms in the study saw 2020 profits that were an average of $40,000 or 18 percent higher (median of $11,000) than non-certified farms. The 2019 data showed an average of $19,000 or 20 percent in higher profits (median of $7,000) for certified producers. Other key financial metrics are also better for those enrolled in the MAWQCP, such as debt-to-asset ratios and operating expense ratios.

Farmers and landowners interested in becoming water quality certified can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or visit MyLandMyLegacy.com.

If you have any questions about DGA or would like more information about the MNAWQCP program, you can contact me by phone or email: Angie Walter at 320-815-9293 or angie@sfa-mn.org.