DGA Update: Take the lead in protecting water

SFA has partnered with NRCS to promote the MN Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).  This program is supported by the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Resource Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  There are currently 1,085 farms certified in the MAWQCP making up 780,000 acres.

The MAWQCP is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water.  Certified producers are deemed to be in compliance with any new water quality rules or laws for 10 years.  They also receive recognition and signs to promote that their business is in the program and is protecting our state waters.  Priority is given to Ag Water certified farmers for financial and technical assistance to implement practices that promote better water quality.

To apply to get certified, you would contact your local Soil & Water Conservation District or area certification specialist.  If you do not know who that is, feel free to contact me and I can help you.  After you complete the program application, a Certifying Agent will work with you on the assessment process, which includes an online assessment tool and on-farm field verification.  Lastly, compliance with existing laws and rules needs to be complete when the certification agreement is signed.

The MAWQCP has four Endorsements available to water quality certified producers: Climate Smart Farm, Soil Health, Integrated Pest Management, and Wildlife.  Many conservation practices targeting water quality have benefits for other conservation goals and the Endorsements provide additional recognition to water quality certified producers who are going above and beyond to implement conservation on their farms. Endorsements are available to producers who are already Ag water quality certified. Those who achieve an Endorsement will receive an additional sign for their farm and recognition for their conservation excellence.

For more information feel free to go to the website or contact me at 320-815-9293, angie@sfa-mn.org with any questions.  Our farm has gone through the process and is Ag Water Quality certified with all four endorsements as well.