More than 200,000 acres of Minnesota farmland are now enrolled in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). The program marked the milestone recently at Dave and Jayne Lochen’s Shore Acres Farm near Kimball in Stearns County. Shore Acres Farm is a beef cattle and diversified crop operation growing seed and sweet corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Since the program’s inception under Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014, 365 farms have been certified across Minnesota. To date, certified farms have added 628 new conservation practices. The practices have kept more than 12.1 million pounds of sediment out of Minnesota rivers while saving nearly 17.4 million pounds of soil and 7,414 pounds of phosphorous.
With certification, Lochen has made changes to fertility, reduced some tillage practices, and added cover crops. After being certified, each farm is deemed to be in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years. Certification is also an approved practice farmers can use to comply with the state buffer law.