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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Water Protection > Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program > Minutes and Agendas > November 6, 2017 Meeting Minutes

MAWQCP Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes, November 6, 2017

Date: Monday,  November 6, 2017
Time: 9:30am to 2:00pm

Land O' Lakes
4001 Lexington Ave N,
Arden Hills, MN 55126

(Copy of the PPT available upon request, contact mda.mawqcp@state.mn.us)

Welcome and Introductions: Host Rebecca Kenow, Director of Sustainability for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN® welcomed the committee and Kris Van Amber facilitated introductions and noting the ‘rules of the road’.

Committee members attending were:

  • Joe Smentek, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association
  • Dennis Fuchs, Stearns SWCD
  • Rebecca Kenow, Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN®
  • Paul Sweeney, Ecosystem Services Exchange
  • Lucas Sjostrom, Minnesota Milk Producers Association
  • Marcie O'Shaughnessy, Syngenta
  • Molly Pederson, Audubon Minnesota
  • Steve Peterson, certified-farmer/retired-General Mills, Field to Market, AgriGrowth
  • Marguerite Tan, Hormel
  • Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union
  • Mark Muller, The McKnight Foundation
  • Brian Buhr, University of Minnesota (CFANS)


  • Thom Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union
  • Jason Garms, MN Department of Natural Resources
  • Rebecca Flood, MN Pollution Control Agency
  • Susan Stokes, MN Department of Agriculture
  • Matt Wohlman, MN Department of Agriculture
  • Leann Buck, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Districts
  • Al Kean, MN Board of Water and Soil Resources
  • Kris Van Amber, Facilitator


  • Brad Redlin, Program Manager
  • Bill Fitzgerald, Field Operations and Training Coordinator
  • Peter Gillitzer, Assessment and Research Coordinator
  • Clarissa Levi, Agronomy and Conservation Coordinator

Brad Redlin reviewed this meeting’s objectives to learn how Land O’Lakes is encouraging stewardship of Minnesota’s natural resources and brainstorm opportunities for integrating and aligning MAWQCP with private sector sustainability goals and initiatives.

The MAWQCP is on track to reach 500,000 certified acres by the end of 2019. In order to make the statewide target of 1,000,000 MAWQCP-certified acres by the end of 2019, private sector sustainability goals and initiatives will be necessary to certify an additional 500,000 acres by the end of 2019.

MAWQCProgram Update: Brad Redlin and the staff of MAWQCP provided the members with an update on the results of the program, including current status, program operations, assessment process and partners. (Copy of the PPT available upon request, contact mda.mawqcp@state.mn.us) The committee responded with a focus on the need to improve the measurement of impacts of MAWQCP.

  • Is there another existing tool to quantify savings (sediment load, nutrients, etc.)?
  • Committee members suggested comprehensive look outside Minnesota.
  • Need for nitrogen reduction estimators in pounds instead of percent.
  • APEX model – Gives a range of reductions per field. Program should take low end of that range and report those numbers.
  • Committee suggested connecting with Field to Market staff and build that collaborative relationship.
  • STEP tool – intended for use in cropland environment.

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN® Presentation: Jason Weller, Director of Sustainability, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN® informed the committee that Land O’ Lakes is a producer owned cooperative with now four divisions; Winfield (ag service, crop input, precision ag); Purina (animal food and nutrition), LOL Dairy Foods and ingredients, and SUSTAIN® . There are 3500 producer members, representing dairies and ag crop production and 800 Retail coops.

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN® provides members with:

  • Agronomic leadership – continuous improvement, conservation agronomy technology, optimization of production while minimizing inputs
  • Demand creation (markets) – increase product sales, development of partnerships
  • Advocacy – telling the ag story, ag policy support, new revenue streams

Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN® goal is to have 20 million acres in LOL Sustain Conservation Agronomy by 2025; 100% of dairy producers assessed by 2025 (currently at 40%). This work can determine the levers that can quantify economic benefit for landowner and the food chain.

Following lunch, the committee discussed several opportunities that advisory members organizations can do to increase the number of certified acres through private sector sustainability goals and initiatives. Discussion topics included:

  • From your perspective, what barriers or issues do you see?
  • What can the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) or the State do to support you?
  • What don’t we know that you know?

A summary of the discussion will be assembled by staff and made available to committee members at the next advisory meeting held in early 2018.

Meeting ended at 2:00 PM