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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Best Management Practices > Water Quality BMPs for Agricultural Herbicides

Water Quality BMPs for Agricultural Herbicides


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has developed Best Management Practices (BMPs) to address herbicide use and water resource protection. The BMPs include mandatory label requirements and a series of voluntary practices to guide farmers on herbicide use. These practices can reduce herbicide leaching into groundwater or runoff into surface water while giving consideration to the specific needs of farming operations.

The BMPs were developed in 2004 to address the presence of the herbicides acetochlor, alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor and metribuzin, or their breakdown products, in Minnesota’s groundwater or surface water from normal agricultural use. The BMPs were developed by the MDA and University of Minnesota Extension, in consultation with other interested parties. The BMPs were updated in 2008 and the BMPs for all agriculture herbicides and acetochlor were subsequently revised in 2010.


Water Quality BMPs for Agricultural Insecticides

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has has developed Best Management Practices (BMPs) to address insecticide use and water resource protection. The BMPs include mandatory label requirements and a series of voluntary practices to guide farmers on insecticide use. These practices can reduce insecticide leaching into groundwater or runoff into surface water while giving consideration to the specific needs of farming operations.

The BMPs, which reference both mandatory label requirements and voluntary practices, were developed by the MDA in consultation with the University of Minnesota Extension and other interested parties to address chlopyrifos use and water resource protection, and to address  impacts to water resources from all agricultural insecticides.

To view or download copies of the BMPs, see below.

For information on water resource monitoring results that support the development of BMPs, refer to the MDA’s Monitoring and Assessment webpage.

The Commissioner previously announced that the insecticide chlorpyrifos is a surface water “Pesticide of Concern” in accordance with the state Pesticide Management Plan. Subsequently, the MDA staff was directed to develop BMPs to protect surface water from all agricultural insecticides and specifically from chlorpyrifos.

The BMPs for all agricultural insecticides are considered the foundation for the chlorpyrifos-specific BMPs, and will be promoted statewide for all insecticide use as a preventive approach to protecting water resources.

The BMPs include additional information, web links and resources helpful to farmers. 

Insecticide BMP Resources

Additional Information:


Potato Fungicide Best Management Practices

The BMPs, which reference both mandatory label requirements and voluntary practices, were developed by the MDA in consultation with the University of Minnesota Extension, North Dakota State University and other interested parties to address airborne fungicide exposure concerns for applicators, bystanders and residents near potato fields treated by groundboom or aerial equipment.

To view or download copies of the BMPs, see below.

The BMPs include additional information, web links and resources helpful to farmers.

BMPs to prevent drift and minimize volatilization of potato fungicides (PDF: 436 KB / 4 pages) 

MDA Contact

Gregg Regimbal, Unit Supervisor
Pesticide Management Unit
Gregg.Regimbal@state.mn.us
651-201-6671

Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division