USDA Works With Minnesota Farmers on Water Quality

Earlier this week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to hammer out a commitment from the state and federal governments regarding water quality in Minnesota.

In a ceremony at the Minnesota capitol, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Dayton and Vilsack committing both governments to develop new programs to encourage voluntary conservation practices designed to improve water quality.

Praising the signing, Dayton stated, “Water and food are two of society’s essential resources. Today, we are taking a bold step for a program, which keeps agriculture a cornerstone of our economy and also protects the health of our rivers, lakes and streams. It is vital that we have both.”

Secretary Vilsack promised that the program would serve to reward farmers who made serious commitments to environmental conservation, stating, “Establishment of this program will protect our water resources by providing assurances and incentives to participating farmers that their good deeds – their strong commitment to conservation – will be recognized.”

While the details of the program will be worked out over the next months, the basics revolve around the creation of a conservation certification program. When farmers comply with these certifications, they would be prioritized for federal cost-share funding and would be exempted from certain water quality regulations for their duration of their commitment.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer