Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program
Becoming a certified farm shows the community that farmers are doing what they can to protect our water. This is a voluntary program for farmers and agricultural landowners to show what conservation practices they are implementing for protecting our water. The certification is valid for 10 years. For that 10 years, farmers/agricultural landowners obtain regulatory certainty of compliance with any new water quality rules or laws. Farmers seeking certification can get specially designated financial assistance to implement practices for promoting water quality from the USDA’s EQIP and CSP programs, or new programs that may arrive because of the new farm bill.
The process to becoming a certified farm is fairly easy. If you are interested contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). You will have to fill out an application and that starts the process towards certification. Once the application is completed you will be contacted by a local certifying agent to go through the assessment process. Some crop advisers also do this locally. The assessment process is when the certifying agent will ask you for information regarding your farm such as soil tests reports, nutrient application, manure application, and pesticide application. The certifying agent will also conduct field visits to look for soil erosion or other potential impacts to water quality. If issues were to be found, they and action on them would need to be included in the certification agreement.
In Yellow Medicine SWCD, we’ve had nine certifications, and currently there are 22 applications that are pursuing certification. There are incentive payments for completing an assessment and certification.
The mission of the Yellow Medicine Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide technical, financial, and educational support to its residents. For more information on the SWCD and its programs and how they affect you contact the SWCD at 320-669-4442 x 3. Our website also has a lot of information on all of our programs and services. Visit www.yellowmedicineswcd.org to learn more.