Study Confirms Higher Profits for Ag Water Quality Certified Farms

For the third year in a row, a study done by the Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence has shown that farms certified in the MN Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) have higher profits than farms that are not certified.  As a farmer myself, this makes me glad that our farm is certified and makes me wonder why any farmer would not want to get certified in the program!

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 94 MAWQCP farms in the study saw 2021 profits that were an average of more than $16,000 or 6% higher (median of almost $32,000 higher) than non-certified farms. Looking at three years of data, the average income was more than $25,000 higher for MAWQCP farms, or $16,000 higher for median income. Other key financial metrics are also better for those enrolled in the MAWQCP, such as debt-to-asset ratios and operating expense ratios.  To find details on the economic study, click here.

Farmers who are certified in the MN Ag Water Quality program have major environmental benefits as they work through their certification with a local Soil and Water Conservation District.  After being certified, each farm is deemed in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years.  A grant up to $5,000 is available yearly to continue to make improvements on the farm that are considered best management practices to improve water quality.  In addition, there are 4 endorsements that can be earned after certification.  Another perk of being certified is that farmers who are certified in the MNAWQCP can receive a scholarship for tuition for enrolling or continuing to enroll in a Farm Business Management program.  

Since the program’s statewide launch in 2016, 1,197 farms totaling over 845,000 acres have been certified across Minnesota. Farms have added 2,414 new conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s waters. Those new practices help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 44,000 metric tons each year.   If you are a farmer of any kind, I would highly suggest you get your farm Ag Water Quality Certified soon!

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

Any questions about the program can also contact me by phone or email: Angie Walter at 320-815-9293 or