The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary program opportunity recognizing farmers for managing their land in a way that protects water quality.
Yellow Medicine County producer Joel Timm farms in the Wood Lake area. He became an Ag Water Quality Certified farmer in 2018 and said this about the program: “I became water quality certified because I was already practicing most of the requirements on my farm and I only had to modify a few items to become a water quality certified farm. Because my farm is certified I realize that I will notice things that happen on farmland that could compromise our water quality in our waterways, lakes and ground water. One example I notice more readily are wind and water erosion that move topsoil from our farmland. When I see this happening I also put more thought into what I could do differently in my farming operation to help prevent this. Maybe the program name should be changed to water quality awareness!”
Certification in the MAWQCP provides:
- Regulatory certainty: 10 years of compliance with new water quality laws and regulations;
- Stewardship recognition;
- Access to financial and technical assistance.
Recently, certification has provided a new opportunity for farmers through its partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Certified farmers automatically receive “High Priority” status applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). And, available again in 2021 will be a separate Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) fund pool called Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) EQIP for certified producers.
To learn more about becoming an Ag Water Quality Certified farmer, or begin the certification process, contact the Yellow Medicine Soil and Water Office at 320-669-4442 x3 or the Area MAWQCP Certification Specialist, Danielle Evers, at 507-825-1199.