The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is moving forward on its statewide Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program and invites local farmers to attend one of two open houses in the Middle Sauk River area. The aim is for Minnesota farmers to find out how they can accelerate on-farm conservation practices as part of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.
We urge all growers from the area to attend these and other meetings geared toward water quality issues. I have been to a few in my home state and as the EPA looks to reduce the flow of nitrogen and phosphates through the watershed, growers are asked to take voluntary steps to reduce the egress of N&P from agricultural lands.
The open houses will give farmers a chance to speak their mind while learning about various assessment tools which will be used to monitor progress. We need the voice of the American farmer to be heard loud and clear at these meetings so please plan to attend if you are in the area. The open houses will be held on Tuesday, March 4 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Melrose City Center, 225 1st St. NE, Melrose, MN 56352 and Wednesday, March 5 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the Rocori District Education Facility, 527 Main St., Cold Spring, MN 56320.
I have talked at length with my state's Secretary of Agriculture about this issue and his message has been consistent, believing a demonstrated voluntary effort on the part of growers will keep EPA regulations from forming. Growers have a chance to get out in front at these open houses, and make sure your voice is heard.
The full release from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture follows...
MDA Release: Farmers invited to unique opportunity involving Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) invite farmers in the Middle Sauk River area to two open houses on March 4 and 5 to learn how they can get involved in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP).
MAWQCP is a voluntary program designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm conservation practices that protect Minnesota's lakes and rivers. Producers who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn assured that their operation meets the state's water quality goals and standards for a period of ten years. The Middle Sauk River Pilot Area was selected as one of four pilots throughout the state to test and refine the program. This pilot area includes most of Stearns County.
At the open houses, MDA and SWCD staff will provide a brief presentation on the program and demonstrate the assessment tool used to evaluate individual operations. A panel discussion will feature local farmers, advisory committee members, and technical staff. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the program or receive a free assessment of their farms.
The open houses will be held on:
- Tuesday, March 4 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Melrose City Center
225 1st St. NE, Melrose, MN 56352
- Wednesday, March 5 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Rocori District Education Facility
527 Main St., Cold Spring, MN 56320
No registration is required for the open houses. Farmers with questions about the events can contact Mark Lefebvre, Stearns County SWCD, at 320-251-7800 ext. 3.
For more information on the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program visit www.mda.state.mn.us/awqcp or http://www.stearnscountyswcd.net.
Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA