“I went in thinking I wouldn’t have to do a darn thing.” Farmer Dale Buendorf was well on his way to becoming certified through the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program at the outset, having implemented no-till and strip-till on his acres of corn and soybeans. While working with his certifier, Herman Bartsch, they discovered that there were just a few tweaks to make, including adjusting his nutrient management plan. Now, Dale says they are more responsible with where they apply nutrients and when, keeping it out of the groundwater. And, fewer passes on the fields has turned into a lot of savings in fuel costs. Dale was certified within six months, and also received endorsements in Soil Health and Integrated Pest Management!
“As the boots on the ground on these lands that we’re part of, I think it’s important that we do these things and be responsible and protect these resources that we’ve got.” Dale’s attitude is shared by many of the 1,200+ farmers who are certified. It is important to them to be good land stewards, and the recognition and resources they receive through certification is appreciated.
Caroline D’Huyvetter (Minnesota Department of Agriculture), Herman, and Dale share their experience with the certification program in this conversation, how it can work with landlords, and the five different endorsements that farmers can receive in addition to getting certified: Climate Smart Farm, Soil Health, Integrated Pest Management, Wildlife, and Irrigation Water Management. There’s more to those than the additional recognition: bridge payments for those with the Climate Smart endorsement are in the works.
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