The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is launching three new endorsements in addition to the 10-year certification a farmer or landowner receives in the program. The new endorsements were announced at this week’s Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Convention.
The MAWQCP endorsements available to water quality certified producers are for soil health, integrated pest management, and wildlife.
“We recognize that many conservation practices targeting water quality also have benefits for other conservation goals, such as wildlife,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “These Ag Water Quality Certification endorsements celebrate the certified producers who are going above and beyond to implement conservation on their farms.”
The MAWQCP partnered with various non-profit organizations, such as Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, and state agencies to develop the endorsements.
“Pheasants Forever commends the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for their collaboration and recognition of the many benefits that the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program provides in addition to water quality,” said Tanner Bruse, Ag and Conservation Programs Manager for Pheasants Forever. “The MAWQCP and wildlife endorsement recognizes our great Minnesota farmers and their passion for farming for the future and dedication to conservation. Habitat goes beyond wildlife with positive impacts towards water quality, soil health, and carbon sequestration.”
“The Minnesota Soil Health Coalition appreciates the dedication of the MAWQCP, helping producers identify and implement practices to improve their operations and resource concerns and value the Soil Health endorsement as another avenue to engage and improve soil health across Minnesota” said Brian Pfarr, Minnesota Soil Health Coalition Board Chairman.
Certified producers who achieve an endorsement will receive an additional sign for their farm and recognition for their conservation excellence.
Farmers and landowners interested in an endorsement or becoming water quality certified can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or visit MyLandMyLegacy.com.
About the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. After a successful pilot phase in 2014-2015, the program is now available to farmers and landowners statewide. To date, the program has certified 816 farms totaling 557,000 acres.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications