Farm Progress

Pierz family farm helps the program reach the milestone.

July 6, 2016

2 Min Read

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program recently marked the enrollment of its 100,000th acre in the state.

The voluntary program for farmers and landowners helps protect the state’s water resources. Since MAWQCP’s inception in 2014, nearly 200 farms have been certified across the state.

The 100,000th acre enrollment goes to Dean Marshik and Clare Palmquist, and their son Daniel Maurer. The family runs a 150-cow dairy and associated crop farm near Pierz in Morrison County.

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Marshik is a long-time conservationist. Over the years, he’s implemented and maintained numerous conservation practices, including grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, and diversified, water-friendly crop rotations.

MAWQCP puts farmers in touch with local conservation experts to identify and mitigate any risks their farm poses to water quality. Through the MAWQCP, Marshik worked with Grant Pearson, the local program area certification specialist, to look for ways he could continue to protect water resources and build on his legacy of soil and water stewardship. As part of his certification, Marshik has increased his use of cover crops, altered his nutrient management, and is leaving more residue on one of his fields.

“The regulatory certainty piece of the program got me curious, but I am always looking at how I can leave my land better off for the next generation and this program helped me find ways to improve my stewardship,” said Marshik. “I’d urge every farmer in the state to consider getting certified.”

To date, it’s been estimated that MAWQCP annually has kept more than 7.7 million pounds of sediment out of Minnesota rivers, while saving nearly 10.3 million pounds of soil and 4,795 pounds of phosphorous on farms. More than 391 new conservation practices have been implemented, too.

Marshik Dairy also has received recognition for its sustainability. In 2014, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy awarded the dairy with its Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency.

After being MAWQCP-certified, each farm is deemed to be in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years. Certification is also an approved practice farmers can use to comply with the new state buffer law. Certified farmers and landowners can use their certification status to promote their businesses as protective of water quality.

Those interested in the program can contact their local soil and water conservation district office or visit MyLandMyLegacy.com.

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