May 30, 2016
Noting that it is the first of its kind in the nation, the state of Minnesota and Land O’Lakes, Inc., announced a public-private partnership to protect and improve water quality across Minnesota.
The agreement was formalized with a signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and LOL. In a nutshell, the goal of the partnership is to increase the number of farms and acres enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program.
MAWQCP is a voluntary program for farmers and landowners to certify conservation practices on their land that protect and improve the state’s water resources.
Land O’Lakes and state of Minnesota partner on ag water quality
Since its inception in 2014, the program has certified 165 farms involving more than 89,000 acres. On those farms, 330 new conservation practices have been adopted. Thus far, officials say the program keeps more than 6.5 million pounds of sediment out of state rivers, while annually saving nearly 9 million pounds of soil and 4,500 pounds of phosphorous on farms.
There currently is a backlog of applicants, waiting for certification review, says Brad Redlin MAWQCP manager.
Through its ag retailer network with Winfield US, LOL’s seed and crop protection business, LOL has the infrastructure and technology to help farmers better pinpoint and implement conservation on their farms.
“We’re very excited about this,” Redlin said. “Supporting MAWQCP is in line [with LOL’s] drive for corporate sustainability and precision conservation.”
LOL/Winfield will offer farmers, for a fee, access to precision ag tools that can deliver prescription conservation plans for individual farmers via a private contractor-provided service.
Essentially, agronomists would serve as contractors for implementing the program and doing what soil and water district technicians have been doing, Redlin said.
At Winfield’s fingertips are various components of ag precision technology, such as remote sensing that helps map topography for water management and runoff. Data collected by agronomists can then be easily shared to enroll in the program, thus reducing time and duplication of efforts. They also will be able to evaluate conservation potential and create plans for grass waterways, wetlands and ponds.
For more information on MAWQCP, visit http://www.mda.state.mn.us/awqcp
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