Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$3,000,000
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,500,000
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,500,000
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,500,000
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,500,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$132,830
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$173,380
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Multiple local partners
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
State Government
Status
In Progress
Start Date
January 2012
End Date
June 2021
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Counties Affected
Faribault
Jackson
Martin
Olmsted
Otter Tail
Stearns
Wabasha
Wilkin
Winona
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (g) $2,000,000 the first year and $3,000,000 the second year are to implement the Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program statewide. Funds appropriated in this paragraph are available until June 30, 2021.

2019 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$3,000,000
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (g) $2,000,000 the first year and $3,000,000 the second year are to implement the Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program statewide. Funds appropriated in this paragraph are available until June 30, 2021

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,000,000
Administration costs
$127,554
Number of full time equivalents funded
8.3
Measurable Outcome(s)

At the end of December 2018:

  • Over 690 certified farms
  • More than 449,000 certified acres
  • 1328 NEW Best Management Practices, saving 127 million pounds of soil per year and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus losses.

55-65% of program funds are passed through to local government units and participating farmers:

The program is leveraging over $9 million in federal funding to enhance programs in Minnesota

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 3S
F2527 REVISOR CKM S2527-2 2nd Engrossment (05/22/2016) Starting on line 66.29
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (g) $2,500,000 the first year is and $2,500,000 the second year are to implement the Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program statewide. The commissioner of agriculture shall consult with the United States Department of Agriculture to determine whether other state spending would qualify as a match for the agricultural water quality certification program funds available from the federal government. By January 1, 2016, the commissioner shall submit a report on funding recommendations to the Clean Water Council and the chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate committees and divisions with jurisdiction over agriculture, the  environment and natural resources, and the clean water fund. Funds appropriated in this paragraph are available until June 30, 2019.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,500,000
Administration costs
$126,766
Number of full time equivalents funded
8.3
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (g) $2,500,000 the first year is to implement the Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program statewide. The commissioner of agriculture shall consult with the United States Department of Agriculture to determine whether other state spending would qualify as a match for the agricultural water quality certification program funds available from the federal government. By January 1, 2016, the commissioner shall submit a report on funding recommendations to the Clean Water Council and the chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate committees and divisions with jurisdiction over agriculture, the environment and natural resources, and the clean water fund. Funds appropriated in this paragraph are available until June 30, 2016, and the commissioner may request additional funding for this program for fiscal year 2017.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$2,500,000
Administration costs
$129,930
Number of full time equivalents funded
8.3
Measurable Outcome(s)

• 327 certified farms • 188,153 certified acres • 555 NEW Best Management Practices 65% of program funds are passed through to local government units: -The program is leveraging over $9 million in federal funding to enhance programs in Minnesota. -The program is supporting 8 non-MDA positions.

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

M.L. 2013: (g) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are to implement a Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,500,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$12,100,000
Administration costs
$91,464
Number of full time equivalents funded
3.75
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes are reported in fiscal year 2014

Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes are reported in fiscal year 2014

Source of Additional Funds

$9M NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)$100,000 McKnight Foundation$3M dedicated EQIP funding pool

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

M.L. 2013: (g) $1,500,000 the first year and $1,500,000 the second year are to implement a Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$1,500,000
Administration costs
$37,279
Number of full time equivalents funded
3.75
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Measureable outcomes were proposed in fiscal year 2012 and have remained consistent.

Measurable Outcome(s)

• Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education events (Over 120 meetings, events, fields days, and presentations at conferences and tradeshows)• Number of farmers participating in the MAWQCP in each pilot area within the term of the pilot program (31 certified farms, 12,861 acres)• Number of conservation practices implemented (84)• Number of partners involved in local pilots’ activities (15)Buffalo-Red River Watershed District, Wilkin County SWCD, West Otter Tail County SWCD, Whitewater River Watershed Project, Wabasha County SWCD, Winona County SWCD, Olmsted County SWCD, Rural Advantage, Martin County SWCD, Jackson County SWCD, Cottonwood County SWCD, Watonwan County SWCD, Faribault County SWCD, Greater Blue Earth River Basin Alliance, Stearn County SWCD• Amount of money leveraged by the MAWQCP ($12.1 million)

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.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$132,830
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.85
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Measureable outcomes were proposed in fiscal year 2012 and have remained consistent.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Measureable outcomes are reported in 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
$173,380
Number of full time equivalents funded
0.2
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The MDA is tracking the following information:Number of contacts with farmers, crop advisors and other stakeholders at field days, presentations and other education eventsNumber of farmers participating in the MAWQCP in each pilot area within the term of the pilot programNumber of conservation practices implementedNumber of partners involved in local pilots’ activitiesAmount of money leveraged by the MAWQCP TargetUpon two-years of pilot operation:a. Have developed an agricultural operation assessment process that functionally addresses water quality impacts and incorporates a process for revisions as practices, management and technology changes become established and approved. 

Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable outcomes are reported in fiscal year 2014.

Source of Additional Funds

Additional federal and state resources for this program will be identified by the advisory committee as well as the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Project Overview

The Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead on implementing conservation practices that protect water quality. Those who implement and maintain approved conservation practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. This program will help address concerns about changing regulatory requirements from multiple state and federal agencies. Certainty is a commitment provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). For more details about  the program, please visit the Ag Water Quality Certification Program webpage on the MDA's website.

About the Issue

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program began certifying farms in pilot watershed areas in June of 2014. As of February, 2017 there are a total of 327 certified farms that represent 188,153 acres. An additional 555 new conservation practices are being adopted as a result of this program.

Project Details

The first step of the program was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on January 17, 2012, by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The MOU document formalized the state-federal partnership and confirms the joint commitment to developing and implementing the program.An advisory committee was formed in July 2012 and met on a monthly basis until November 2012. This committee is made up of 15 members and includes farmers and representatives from agricultural, business, and conservation organizations.This committee completed a series of meetings and delivered recommendations to the MDA Commissioner in November 2012. The committee's recommendations were presented in seven position papers. The Commissioner used the recommendations in making final determinations about the program details and implementation process. The advisory committee continues to serve at key steps of the process to review draft components.Beginning in 2013, the MAWQCP began in a pilot phase in four areas across the state to further refine details of the program and gather feedback from local producers and conservation professionals. All producers that farm within the four pilot areas are now eligible for certification. This pilot process will conclude in 2016. The program will be open statewide following the pilot period.The pilot areas include: Elm Creek in Faribault, Jackson, and Martin counties, the Middle Sauk River in Stearns County, Whiskey Creek in Otter Tail and Wilkin counties, and the Whitewater River in Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.Pilot areas were recommended by local organizations and selected through a competitive application process. Pilot areas are located in four distinct regions of the state; these areas represent a diversity of Minnesota’s agricultural landscapes and cropping systems, differences in water resource concerns and also leverage the strength of existing local partnerships.

Project Manager
First Name
Brad
Last Name
Redlin
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
625 Robert Street North
City
St. Paul
State
Minnesota
Zip Code
55155
Phone
(651) 201- 6489
Email
Brad.Redlin@state.mn.us
Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

2014-2016 Advisory CommitteeKirby Hettver                                             Minnesota Corn Growers AssociationTony Thompson                                                                       Willow Lake FarmNathan Collins                                                                 Minnesota Farm BureauDoug Peterson                                                              Minnesota Farmers UnionDoug Albin                               Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion CouncilDuane Bakke                                                                                Fillmore CountyBill Zurn                                                Minnesota Soybean Growers AssociationDean Fairchild                                                                    The Mosaic CompanyDennis Berglund                                                             Centrol Crop ConsultingBeth Croteau-Kallestad                              Cannon River Watershed PartnershipKris Sigford                                                     Center for Environmental AdvocacyJim Kleinschmit                                        Institute for Agriculture and Trade PolicyDennis Fuchs                                                                      Stearns County SWCDJim Riddle                                                                            Winona County SWCDJoe Smentek                                            Minnesota Soybean Growers Association