Principal Investigator: Jim Anderson
Co-Investigator(s): Ann Lewandowski and Dennis Busch
Organization(s): University of Minnesota Water Resources Center and University of Minnesota Extension
Sponsor: Clean Water Legacy Act
Award Amount: $48,500
Start Date: 6/1/2007 | End Date: 7/15/2008
Project Manager(s): Adam Birr and Bruce Montgomery (Bruce.Montgomery@state.mn.us)
FINAL REPORT: Feasibility of an On-Farm Water Quality Program in Minnesota
This is a well researched topic that is useful for anyone interested in starting a Discovery farms program or simply learning more!
This study examined the potential value, cost, designs, and support for a long-term program aimed at answering questions about the relationship between agricultural land uses and water quality through outreach and water quality monitoring on active Minnesota farms. In this report, the authors provide information about on-farm water quality monitoring programs in other states, focusing heavily on Wisconsin Discovery Farms. Included is information about program development, operational structure, stakeholder involvement, funding and budget, data collection and dissemination of information.
The goal of this study was to explore the feasibility of a Minnesota on-farm demonstration network similar to Wisconsin's Discovery Farms which emphasizes local grower involvement in addressing questions about the relationship between agricultural land use and water quality.
The Wisconsin Discovery Farms program inspired discussions of on-farm monitoring in Minnesota and is the primary model for a Minnesota program. The Wisconsin program has been on the ground for nearly a decade; demonstrating substantial and unique impacts, and providing Minnesota with many lessons-learned.
The Wisconsin Discovery Farms have clearly affected farmers, rule makers and other stakeholders who now expect information from the program to be part of the water quality discussion.
The network will provide meaningful research, practical and economical solutions, educational opportunities and guidance to Minnesota producers, researchers, water resource managers and other stakeholders.
This report reviews multiple monitoring programs including the Wisconsin, North Dakota and Arkansas Discovery Farm programs as well as the Pioneer Farm program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. It also reviews water quality monitoring programs that currently exist in Minnesota.
Visit the Discovery Farms Minnesota website to learn more!
Supervisor, Clean Water Technical Assistance Unit