State receives $9 million for conservation practices


ST. PAUL — Federal officials have awarded $9 million in financial assistance to Minnesota farmers for implementing conservation practices to earn certification in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). The money comes from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

MAWQCP is designed to accelerate progress toward water quality goals while making conservation regulations more predictable and less cost-prohibitive for farmers. Enrollees who implement and maintain approved farm management practices are certified by the state. In turn, they are assured their operations meet the state’s water quality standards for 10 years.

This five-year award is the second the state has received for the MAWQCP. In 2015, Minnesota was given a $9 million RCPP award. In both instances, the entire amount of money is passed through to farmers for on-farm conservation measures.

Since it began in 2014, MAWQCP has certified more than 800 farms totaling nearly 550,000 acres. Minnesota farmers have installed over 1,700 new conservation practices as part of the program. Those new practices have kept more than 37,000 tons of sediment out of Minnesota rivers while saving nearly 103,000 tons of soil and 45,000 pounds of phosphorus on farms each year. The conservation practices have also reduced nitrogen loss up to 49% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 36,000 tons per year.

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