Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams feature prominently in our recreation and our quality of life, and the high quality of those public waters is part of what makes our state special. Minnesota is also the nation’s fifth most productive agricultural state with nearly 27 million acres devoted to agricultural production, $15 billion in annual sales, 340,000 Minnesota jobs supported and an amazing variety of farms.
These distinctive assets make Minnesota the ideal location for a new collaborative approach focused on the intersection between agricultural production and water quality. The goal of the new state and federal partnership, called the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program, is to enhance Minnesota’s water quality by accelerating the voluntary adoption of on-farm conservation practices.
The program is the product of a state-federal partnership that includes the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be holding a series of Public Listening Sessions to inform the development of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. These listening sessions will take place in six locations throughout the state. Please attend a meeting near you to share your views about how the program should be established. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture believes that the state of Minnesota can have a thriving agricultural economy while protecting our valuable water resources.
Your comments are welcome anytime at email@example.com.
The signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the development of a Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program agreed to form an Advisory Committee to develop the program. The Committee’s role is to provide diverse and substantive input in an advisory capacity to the Commissioner of Agriculture on the development and implementation of the program. Formal records are kept of meetings to record the input, concerns and recommendations of members. The development of the program will include a process for public comment.
This committee completed a series of meetings and delivered recommendations on-time to the MDA Commissioner in November 2012. The committee submitted a series of recommendations presented in seven position papers. The Commissioner will use the recommendations in making final determinations about the program details and implementation process. The advisory committee will continue to serve at key steps of the process to review draft components.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on January 17, 2012, by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The MOU document formalizes the state-federal partnership and confirms the joint commitment to developing and implementing the program.
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Brad Redlin, Program Manager
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, firstname.lastname@example.org