U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton officially launched a new agricultural water quality pilot program designed to enhance water quality in the state. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program is the first of its kind in the nation..
Minnesota Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Matt Wohlman says farmers in four Minnesota watersheds will have the opportunity to be part of the three-year pilot program.
The four watersheds include the Whitewater River Watershed located in parts of Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona Counties.
The Minnesota legislature appropriated $3 million in Clean Water Legacy funding to launch this program. These funds will leverage $6.5 million in federal funding previously announced by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.
Under the certification program, farmers who implement and maintain approved conservation plans will be certified and in turn assured that their operations meet water quality goals and standards for the term of the certification agreement which lasts up to 10 years.