December 13, 2018
Recently compiled statistics by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture show the impact the state’s ag water quality certification program has had.
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, initiated through a memorandum of understanding in 2012 and fully rolled out by 2014, has:
• enrolled nearly 450,000 acres
• includes 680 producers
• added more than 1,300 new conservation practices
• kept more than 48.1 million pounds of sediment out of Minnesota rivers
• saved 122 million pounds of soil and 28,291 pounds of phosphorus on farms
• reduced nitrogen losses by up to 49%
“This is excellent news,” said Gov. Mark Dayton, who signed the MOU, in a news release. “I want to thank the 680 Minnesota farmers and landowners who have voluntarily committed to improving the quality of water that all Minnesotans drink.” The governor also thanked MDA and other professionals for their leadership in the program.
MAWQCP was developed to recognize and inspire conservation efforts and connect farmers with resources to continue enhancing their water quality practices. The voluntary program, which gives certified farms 10 years of compliance with new water quality laws and regulations, also involves public-private partnerships with Land O’Lakes, Hormel Foods and Central Farm Service Cooperative.
Forsman Farms, in Wright County in Cokato, Minn., was one of the latest farms to receive certification in the state’s ag water quality certification program. Shown above are Danielle Isaacson (left), Peter Gillitzer and Clarissa Levi with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program; Gary Forsman, Forsman Farms; Dave Frederickson, Minnesota agriculture commissioner; Peter Forsman and Dave Forsman, Forsman Farms; and Brad Redlin and Bill Fitzgerald, MAWQCP.
According to a recent survey of 250 certified producers, 63% say they participate in the ag water quality certified program to demonstrate their commitment to water stewardship, while 99% say they are likely to recommend the program to others.
Survey participants also say the use of the MAQWCP as a marketing opportunity is one of the top four reasons they participated in the program.
The Forsmans see the opportunities the program gives to their operation.
“We are proud to be part of the water quality certification program, and it is important that we run our farm in a sustainable manner so that we will continue farming for generations,” said Peter Forsman, the farm owner and chief financial officer. “Minnesota is known for its beautiful lakes and waterways. Our customers are proud that we manage our farms in a way to protect our state’s greatest resource. Without clean water, we all suffer.”
The farm began in 1918, with Albert Forsman farming 120 acres near Cokato and selling chicks from his flock. Today, Peter and Dave Forsman handle the day-to-day duties of running 1,000 acres, multiple egg farms and an egg processing facility. The fourth-generation farm is installing two filter strips, treating open tile intakes and refining phosphorus nutrient management for certification.
Farmers and landowners interested in learning more about the MAWCP should contact their local soil and water conservation district or visit mylandmylegacy.com.
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