Half Million Acres of Minnesota Farmland Enrolled in Water Quality Program
More than 500,000 acres of Minnesota farmland is now enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP), according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. MAWQCP is a voluntary program for farmers and landowners that protects the state’s water resources, with 772 farms certified since the program began in 2014. The MAWQCP puts farmers in touch with local conservation district experts to identify and mitigate any risks their farm poses to water quality. To date, Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality certified farms have added 1,557 new conservation practices, including more than 52,000 acres of new cover crops, that protect Minnesota’s waters. Those new practices have kept over 34,000 tons of sediment out of Minnesota rivers while saving nearly 86,000 tons of soil and 41,000 pounds of phosphorous on farms each year. The conservation practices have also reduced nitrogen loss up to 49% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30,000 tons per year.