Gathering Information to improve Education, Outreach and the Environment

Fertilizer and manure inputs are an essential component of a sound nutrient management planFarmers shaking hands near a truck at sunset. Under some circumstances these essential inputs may have detrimental impacts on Minnesota's water resources. For both agronomic and environmental reasons, establishing a better understanding of nutrient inputs (rates and sources) and their associated management (timing and placement) is needed.

We are committed to collecting unbiased and accurate information about nutrient management in Minnesota. This information is highly beneficial for:

  • Guiding future educational and research programs
  • Gauging the effectiveness of implementation programs
  • Understanding trends in fertilizer use efficiency

Characterizing Localized Ag Practices

Through the Farm Nutrient Management Assessment Program or FANMAP we are able to quantify fertilizer use in localized regions of the state.

FANMAP is a diagnostic tool used to provide highly detailed information about agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, manure and pesticides. Information about on-farm management and inputs is collected during a personal visit to each farm, which typically takes one to two hours. Since its inception in 1994, thousands of Minnesota farmers have shared valuable information about their farming practices.

Characterizing Regional and Statewide Ag Practices

The MDA has partnered with the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) and University of Minnesota researchers to collect information about fertilizer use and farm management on a broader scale than FANMAP. Partners have pioneered a survey tool for characterizing fertilizer use and associated management on a regional and statewide scale. Surveys are conducted over the phone by enumerators from NASS. Enumerators are people highly skilled at obtaining critical information over the phone with minimal time and burden on the producer.

Surveys, using this technique, began in 2010. The final reports are listed below.