Discovery Farms Minnesota

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$183,631
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$170,848
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$177,642
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$208,625
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$189,086
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$179,360
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$205,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$205,000
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$200,000
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Recipient Type
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
July 2009
End Date
June 2024
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Monitoring
Research
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Blue Earth
Chisago
Dodge
Goodhue
Kandiyohi
Norman
Renville
Rock
Stearns
Wilkin
Wright
Blue Earth
Chisago
Dodge
Goodhue
Kandiyohi
Norman
Renville
Rock
Stearns
Wilkin
Wright
Project Overview

The Discovery Farms program is a farmer-led effort to gather field-scale water quality information on different types of farms across Minnesota. The three pillars of the program are farmer leadership, credible research, and communicating results.

The mission of Discovery Farms Minnesota is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions. The goal is to provide practical, credible, site-specific information to enable better farm management. The program is designed to collect accurate measurements of sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus movement over the soil surface and through subsurface drainage tiles. Monitoring equipment is operational 365 days per year, samples are collected automatically whenever runoff occurs.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) supports Discovery Farms by providing technical assistance and expertise in water monitoring. Visit MDA's Clean Water Fund Discovery Farms webpage for a list of MDA's responsibilities. To learn more about the program visit the Discovery Farms Minnesota website. Find yearly water quality monitoring results, videos, brochures and real-time data for each farm.

About the Issue

Discovery Farms Minnesota was launched in 2009 by farm organizations and commodity groups, specifically the Minnesota Water Resource Center (MAWRC) with the support of the MDA and the University of Minnesota Extension. Discovery Farms Minnesota provides: 1) baseline data on the environmental performance of Minnesota farms, 2) information on how farmers can adopt best management practices, 3) an educational environment where farmers learn from each other

The Discovery Farms Program leads to a better understanding of the relationship between agricultural management and water quality.

Project Details

Discovery Farms Minnesota emphasizes farmer input and direction. A steering committee comprised of representatives from Minnesota farm, agribusiness, and conservation organizations guides the overall direction of the program, assists in the identification of research priorities and helps in the selection of cooperators and projects. The steering committee also includes non-voting members from state and federal agencies and the University of Minnesota.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minnesota Session Laws - 2019, 1st Special Session, CHAPTER 2--S.F. No. 3, Article 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2019: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more-precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters and for grants to support on-farm demonstration of agricultural practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2024.

Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events
  • Number of county partners and farm groups engaged in the Discovery Farms program
  • Number of counties that initiate edge-of-field monitoring and use Discovery Farms’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Number of times Discovery Farms Minnesota data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper 
  • Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in 2012 and 2014. At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.Discovery Farms Minnesota is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities. 
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minnesota Session Laws - 2019, 1st Special Session, CHAPTER 2--S.F. No. 3, Article 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2019: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more-precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters and for grants to support on-farm demonstration of agricultural practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2024.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$183,631
Other Funds Leveraged
$412,794
Direct expenses
$159,679
Administration costs
$23,952
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events
  • Number of local partners and farm groups engaged in the Discovery Farms program
  • Number of counties that initiate edge-of-field monitoring and use Discovery Farms’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Number of times Discovery Farms Minnesota data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper 
  • Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group began completing a Clean Water Performance Report every two years in 2012. At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures. Discovery Farms Minnesota is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities. 
Measurable Outcome(s)

The following measures are reported as a cumulative measure over the life of the program.

As of 12/18/2020 Discovery Farms has:

  • Engaged about 5,500 participants in 100 presentations and 40 field days/events.
  • Engaged 24 local and farm group partners in the program
  • 13 counties that have initiated edge-of-field monitoring using Discovery Farms Standard Operating Procedures 
  • Received 18 data requests for use in model validation or research
Proposed Outcomes Achieved
achieved most of the proposed outcomes
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters and for grants to support on-farm demonstration of agricultural practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$170,848
Other Funds Leveraged
$449,048
Direct expenses
$151,851
Administration costs
$18,997
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)
  • Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events
  • Number of county partners and farm groups engaged in the Discovery Farms program
  • Number of counties that initiate edge-of-field monitoring and use Discovery Farms’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Number of times Discovery Farms Minnesota data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper 
  • Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in 2012 and 2014. At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.Discovery Farms Minnesota is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities. 
Measurable Outcome(s)

As of 12/18/2020: Discovery Farms has interacted with over 5,500 farmers, crop advisers and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events. 

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters and for grants to support on-farm demonstration of agricultural practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$177,642
Other Funds Leveraged
$434,248
Direct expenses
$155,714
Administration costs
$21,928
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$208,625
Other Funds Leveraged
$401,064
Direct expenses
$181,238
Administration costs
$27,386
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (d) $1,125,000 the first year and $1,125,000 the second year are for technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2020.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$189,086
Other Funds Leveraged
$359,656
Direct expenses
$163,300
Administration costs
$25,785
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013: Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$179,360
Other Funds Leveraged
$437,965
Direct expenses
$156,183
Administration costs
$23,177
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes will be reported at the end of the fiscal year

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013: Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (d) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$205,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$446,705
Direct expenses
$177,454
Administration costs
$27,546
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education eventsNumber of county partners and farm groups engaged in the Discovery Farms programNumber of counties that initiate edge-of-field monitoring and use Discovery Farms’ Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)Number of times Discovery Farms Minnesota data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper Minnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in 2012 and 2014. At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures.Discovery Farms Minnesota is reporting on performance measure FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners and FM5: Dollars leveraged by Clean Water Fund implementation activities. 

Measurable Outcome(s)

Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events  (Reached a total of ~2,900 people at 45 meetings and conferences and hosted 35 field days, 750 people in attendance )Number of county partners and farm groups engaged in the Discovery Farms program (11 local partners and 13 organizations represented on the steering committee)Number of times Discovery Farms Minnesota data is used to validate a model and /or referenced in a TMDL or scientific paper (6 data requests) 

Source of Additional Funds

Additional program funding is provided by the MAWRC. They provided $420,000 in 2010-2011 and $774,119 in 2012-2013. Spending in 2014 was $257,856. MAWRC leads the Discovery Farms Minnesota program and the MDA provides technical support and expertise.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2011 (d) $775,000 the first year and $775,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on non-point contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$205,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$324,830
Direct expenses
$200,150
Administration costs
$4,850
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6,Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2011 (d) $775,000 the first year and $775,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance on proper implementation of best management practices and more precise information on nonpoint contributions to impaired waters. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016. 

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$200,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$323,677
Direct expenses
$194,475
Administration costs
$5,525
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2 Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2009 (d) $695,000 the first year and $1,570,000 the second year are for research, pilot projects, and technical assistance related to ways agricultural practices contribute to restoring impaired waters and assist with the development of TMDL plans. 

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$125,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$230,178
Direct expenses
$121,025
Administration costs
$3,975
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Technical Assistance"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2014

Project Manager
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Matteson
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
422 Belgrade Avenue
City
North Mankato
State
MN
Zip Code
56003
Phone
507-344-5261
Email
scott.matteson@state.mn.us
Administered By
Administered by
Location

625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone
651-201-6000
Email the Agency