The AgBMP Loan Program provides needed funding for local implementation of clean water practices at an extremely low cost, is unique in its structure, and is not duplicated by any other source of funding. The AgBMP loan program provides 3% loans through local lenders to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses. Funds are used for proven practices that prevent non-point source water pollution or solve existing water quality problems.
To promote the preservation of agricultural history, education and diversity at the Ramsey County Fair by showcasing traditional Hmong dances, square dancers, a fife and drum corp, and Agricadabra, a show which featurs agricultural facts and magic.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a Joint Powers Agreement with Wadena County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Wadena County SWCD is partnering with 13 counties that make up the "Central Sands" region.
Grassland ecosystems evolved to depend on periodic disturbances, such as fire and grazing, to maintain their health and stability. Periodic disturbances help control invasive species, add nutrients back into the soil, germinate plant seeds, enhance wildlife habitat, and more. In Minnesota habitat managers have used fire as a disturbance tool for decades but the use of grazing has been much rarer, mostly because of a lack of necessary infrastructure such as fencing.
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.
Increasing energy conservation and efficiency in residences can play a significant role in Minnesota's goals for energy savings and carbon emissions reductions. The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization, is using this appropriation to develop and implement innovative residential energy efficiency programs. Programs will be demonstrated in eight cities: Apple Valley, Austin, Duluth, Minneapolis, Owatonna, Park Rapids, Rochester, and St. Paul.
Minnesota has 9.5 million acres of public forest lands that play an important role in sustaining Minnesota’s environment and economy. The policies and programs used by public timber sale programs can impact post-harvest ecological conditions and have pronounced effects on the composition, structure, and productivity of the forest in the future. Additionally, timber harvesting revenues play an important role in economic activity, employment, and tax revenue.
Over 527,000 acres of unmanaged woodlands are being used for livestock grazing throughout Minnesota. Managing these grazed woodlands based on the use of best management practices can provide environmental and economic opportunities, including improved water quality, maximized forage production, and higher-quality timber. The best management practices involved are commonly used in other parts of the country with other types of ecosystems, but have not been widely adopted in Minnesota due to a lack of knowledge and experience with implementing them within the ecosystems of Minnesota.
Minnesota has 15.9 million acres of forest land managed by a variety of county, state and federal agencies, and private landowners for timber production, wildlife habitat, and ecological considerations. Forest managers rely on inventory data to make effective planning and management decisions. Because forests are continually changing through natural and human processes, forest inventory data is periodically updated. However, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor and, as a result, much of Minnesota’s forest inventory data is currently out of date.
Funding supports an Irrigation Specialist to develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen best management practices (BMPs). In this position, Dr. Vasu Sharma provides direct support to irrigators on issues of irrigation scheduling and soil water monitoring. She is collaborating on the development of new irrigation scheduling tools that help irrigators manage water and nitrogen resources more precisely. These tools help reduce nitrogen leaching losses in irrigated cropping systems.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has partnered with the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (EOT SWCD) to carry out a series of workshops and expand programs that promote proper water and nitrogen management.
Woody biomass energy systems have shown themselves to offer more locally-based, stable energy supplies for some communities. Itasca Community College is using this appropriation to design a renewable energy system based on woody biomass that will serve as a demonstration and educational tool in the region.
The Nitrogen Rate Study on Coarse-Textured Soil (N Rate Study) was done in 2015-2018 by the University of Minnesota (U of M) and Central Lakes College (CLC) at CLC’s farm in Staples, MN. The study examined nitrogen fertilizer rates for corn on sandy soil—with and without irrigation. The study specifically considered potential nitrogen loss from dryland corn versus irrigated corn and was established after the U of M released new nitrogen rate guidelines in early 2015.
PROJECT GOAL: Improve agricultural production and reduce flooding losses while minimizing the unwanted environmental impacts of subsurface drainage.
PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Demonstrate controlled tile drainage as a flood mitigation practice as well as the water quality and quantity benefits. The project is intended to set an example to increase the adoption of drainage water management practices in the Red River Valley.
Controlled drainage and a saturated buffer are both being evaluated as part of this project.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is working with partners at the Rosholt Research Farm in Westport, Minnesota to develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen best management practices and the associated water quality impacts on irrigated, sandy soils.
Adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy conservation practices can contribute in a variety of ways to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities through costs savings and emissions reductions. Engaging and coaching students as the leaders in the process of implementing such practices provides the added benefit of increasing knowledge, teaching about potential career paths, and developing leadership experience.