The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is offering a new scholarship for farmers to learn business management strategies that will lead to profitable and competitive farming operations. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) Farm Business Management Scholarship provides tuition money for the Farm Business Management Program.
This program started in 1952 and now serves over 5,000 farm families annually in Minnesota. It is offered at eight Minnesota State colleges throughout the state.
The Farm Business Management Program is a one-on-one, student-led program designed to provide education to farm owners and operators. The program helps students to meet their business and personal goals and focuses on using quality records and sound business decisions with tools and other resources.
“Our goal of offering this scholarship to the Farm Business Management Program is to assure our farmers are on better financial footing through good education,” said MDA Assistant Commissioner Whitney Place. “We already know, thanks to a study by AgCentric and the Agricultural Centers of Excellence, that ag water quality certified farms have a 26% higher net income than non-certified farms, so it will be an added benefit to equip them with the resources of the Farm Business Management Program.”
"Minnesota Farm Business Management faculty are excited to enroll farmers who are water quality certified,” said Keith Olander, Director of AgCentric and the Central Lakes College Ag & Energy Center. “The ability to compare financial data to environmental practices on the farm offers a new management tool for producers who desire to change farming methods while maintaining profitability."
The MAWQCP Farm Business Management Scholarship will award $140 per credit (approximately 75% of the cost of tuition) for new Farm Business Management students in their first and/or second semester of the program and $90 per credit (approximately 50% the cost of tuition) for returning students in their third semester or beyond. Students must enroll in a minimum of two credits per semester, or four per academic year, with a maximum of 10 credits per year.
To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must be water quality certified in the MAWQCP. To apply, contact a Farm Business Management instructor. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The deadline for spring semester 2021 is March 1.
Farmers and landowners interested in 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. The program is available to farmers and landowners statewide. To date, over 990 farmers have enrolled 695,000 acres in MAWQCP. In December 2020, Governor Tim Walz announced a goal of enrolling one million acres in the program by the end of 2022.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications