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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Water Protection > Water Planning Assistance > Ag Land Management

Agricultural Land Management

Why is it important the plan focus on this concern?

The MDA recommends voluntary approaches to addressing soil loss and soil erosion issues and offers some suggestions as outlined below to engage agricultural producers in your county. Many advances have been made over the past decades to assist crop and livestock producers in managing their lands, including both from a technological and scientific standpoint. Advancements have also been made in recent years regarding seed technology, nutrient placement and timing of application, crop physiology research and overall land management, including improved soil and water management techniques. However, on certain soils, steep slopes, hydrologic settings or unique landscape features, there may be a need for additional voluntary measures to be implemented.

What actions are needed? What resources may be available to accomplish the actions?

The water plan should consider including discussion about how to further encourage voluntary initiatives, such as the use of:

  • Enhanced use of Precision Agricultural Technologies (PCT). While adoption of PCT has been widely adopted and accepted by many agricultural producers, there may be additional opportunities to further encourage the voluntary use of PCT in various agricultural settings of the county.
  • Cover crops when appropriate. The use of cover crops may not be conducive to every crop rotation or landscape setting. However, certain cover crops can be beneficial for soil quality improvements, erosion control and soil fertility. 
  • Innovative residue management techniques that are crop rotation appropriate and designed to fit the needs of individual farming operations.
  • Survey tools. The MDA developed a diagnostic tool a number of years ago called Farm Nutrient Management Assessment Process (FANMAP) to get a clear understanding of existing farm practices regarding agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, manures and pesticides. The use of FANMAP or other survey tools may be useful in certain areas of the county when working on a minor watershed basis. Contact the MDA for more specifics about how FANMAP can be used in your county.
  • Enhanced promotion of buffer strips, filter strips, water and sediment and control basins and grassed waterways in areas with steep slopes, coarse soils and other high priority areas. The MDA realizes that resources are needed to accomplish promotional and educational initiatives to encourage the adoption of these types of practices. Your county may want to partner with other local units of government in promoting higher levels of adoption for the above mentioned BMPs. 
  • Provide Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program information and encourage participation in the program to access technical and/or financial assistance to County landowners and operators to implement agricultural best management practices on working lands to reduce soil erosion, protect stream banks and improve water resources.

What area(s) of the county is high priority?

All agricultural areas of the county. Specifically important for areas with steep slopes or coarse soils.