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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Conservation > Conservation Practices

Conservation Practices


Learn about all types of conservation practices for farmland, including photos. Also see the Conservation Funding Guide, an interactive tool that helps you compare the financial assistance offered by various programs for all types of conservation practices.

  1. Composting - the controlled aerobic decomposition of raw organic material.
  2. Conservation Crop Rotation - a system for growing several different crops in planned succession on the same field.
  3. Conservation Drainage - refers to several emerging technologies and methods that provide the benefits of conventional agricultural drainage.
  4. Conservation Planning - involves assessing a farm's natural resource challenges and opportunities and identifying appropriate ...
  5. Conservation Tillage - any method of soil cultivation that leaves the previous year's crop residue on fields.
  6. Contour Buffer Strips are permanent, narrow bands of grasses/legumes planted on the contour ...
  7. Contour Farming - growing crops "on the level" across or perpendicular to a slope rather than up and down the slope.
  8. Contour Stripcropping - growing strips of row crops such as corn and soybeans alternate in a planned rotation with equal-width strips
  9. Controlled Burning - the intentional periodic use of fire to manage perennial vegetation.
  10. Cover Crops - grasses, legumes, forbs or other herbaceous plants that provide seasonal cover on cropland.
  11. Dead Animal Composting - involves specialized on-farm facilities and practices to completely compost livestock/poultry carcasses on the farm ...
  12. Fencing - is most often used for pasture management and to exclude livestock from cropland as well as environmentally sensitive areas.
  13. Feedlot Runoff Control Systems - integrated structures and practices for collecting, storing and treating livestock manure and feed wastes.
  14. Feedlot/Wastewater Filter Strips - areas of grassy vegetation engineered to receive and treat feedlot wastewater.
  15. Field Border - a type of conservation buffer consisting of a grassy border along one or more edges of a field.
  16. Forestry/Woodlot Management - the art and science of tending forests, woodlots, tree plantations or agroforestry plantings ...
  17. Grass Planting - establishing or restoring permanent, perennial conservation cover consisting of native or non-native grass mixes.
  18. Grass Waterway - a type of conservation buffer, designed to prevent soil erosion while draining runoff water from adjacent cropland.
  19. Grassland Management - keeps grass stands healthy so they continue to provide long-term conservation benefits.
  20. Gully/Grade Stabilization - an embankment or spillway built across a drainageway to prevent soil erosion.
  21. Habitat, Duck Nesting - provide various duck species with critical nesting and brooding habitat.
  22. Habitat, General - preserves natural upland or wetland ecosystems and the plants and animals that thrive there.
  23. Habitat, Pheasant - attracts and supports healthy pheasant populations by ensuring adequate food, water and cover.
  24. Habitat, Rare & Declining - ecosystems that once flourished but now are severely diminished or degraded.
  25. Invasive Species Management - specialized weed management strategies to suppress invasive plant species.
  26. Irrigation Water Management - primarily aims to control the volume and frequency of irrigation water applied to crops.
  27. Livestock Exclusion or Access Control - the temporary or permanent exclusion of livestock from a designated area
  28. Livestock Watering Systems - ensure that livestock have ready access to clean drinking water from sources such streams, ponds, springs or wells.
  29. Manure/Ag Waste Facility Cover - rigid, semi-rigid covers or flexible membranes designed to prevent spills and control odors.
  30. Manure/Ag Waste Storage - pit, lagoon or above-ground structure that safely holds manure or other ag waste.
  31. Manure Digester - collects manure and convert the energy stored in its organic matter into methane, which is used to produce energy.
  32. Manure Management - planning ensures careful handling and use of livestock manure to obtain its full value as a crop nutrient ...
  33. Manure Storage Abandonment - permanently removing facilities that are no longer used or can no longer serve their intended purpose.
  34. Milkhouse Wastewater Treatment - systems involve specialized technologies and processes to treat milking-related wastewater.
  35. Nutrient Management - using crop nutrients as efficiently as possible to improve productivity while protecting the environment.
  36. Pasture and Hay Planting - establishing or re-establishing long-term stands of native or introduced grasses/legumes for livestock forage.
  37. Pest Management - in agriculture involves the safe and environmentally sound use of pesticides to control crop pests.
  38. Riparian Buffer, Forested - linear multiple-row plantings of trees, shrubs and grass designed primarily for water quality and ...
  39. Riparian Buffer, Grass Filter Strip - strips of grass and/or legumes,typically 20 feet to 120 feet wide, planted next to a water body.
  40. Roof Runoff Management - specially designed high-capacity gutters, downspouts and outlets to collect rain and snowmelt from roofs.
  41. Rotational Grazing - is a management-intensive system of raising livestock on subdivided pastures called paddocks.
  42. Stream Crossing - stabilized fords, culverts or bridges that allow livestock, people, equipment or vehicles to cross a stream ...
  43. Stream Habitat - is restoring or enhancing stream ecology to support desired fish and other aquatic species.
  44. Streambank & Lakeshore Protection - using vegetation or materials such as riprap or gabions to stabilize stream, river or ...
  45. Terraces - earthen embankments, ridges or ridge-and-channels built across a slope to intercept runoff water and reduce soil erosion.
  46. Tree/Shrub Planting - for conservation purposes is establishing perennial woody plants for reforestation, habitat restoration ...
  47. Water and Sediment Control Basin - (WASCOB) small earthen ridge-and-channel or embankment built across a small watercourse within a field.
  48. Water Well - a hole drilled, dug, or driven into an aquifer to provide water for various agricultural uses.
  49. Well Sealing - permanently closing a well that is no longer used or is deemed unsafe.
  50. Wetland Restoration - reestablishes or repairs the hydrology, plants and soils of a former or degraded wetland ...
  51. Wetlands, Constructed - are man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands.
  52. Wind Erosion Control - practices reduce soil erosion by slowing wind speed, which prevents soil particles from detaching and becoming airborne.
  53. Windbreak, Field - linear plantings of trees/shrubs designed to reduce wind speed in open fields.
  54. Windbreak, Living Snow Fences - trees/shrubs planted strategically along roads to trap snow and keep it from blowing and drifting.
  55. Windbreak, Shelterbelt - windbreaks designed to protect farmsteads and livestock from wind and blowing snow.

MDA Contact

Barbara Weisman, Conservation Policy Specialist
651-201-6631 or 1-800-967-2474, Barbara.Weisman@state.mn.us

Ag Marketing & Development Division