Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has set a goal of getting one million acres in Minnesota certified or enrolled in the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program or MAWQCP. This is a voluntary program with over 685,000 acres already certified from all across Minnesota. "This is a key effort to ensure our lakes, rivers, and drinking water are protected for future generations," said Governor Walz.

" We already know certified farms have a major impact on out environment for the better, but the certification program is also good for our ag economy," said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson. "Early research has shown that farmers who implement conservation practices and become certified can increase crop yields and overall farm income."

Farmers and land owners work with their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to look for and mitigate any risks their land may pose to water quality. While going through the certification process they will have priority to financial programs and assistance. Another advantage to being MAWQCP certified is that the farm would be "deemed in compliance with new water quality laws and regulations for 10 years."

I found it very interesting that a Minnesota State Program AgCentric did a study and found that "the average net income of ag water quality farms is 26 percent higher, or $19,000 per year than non-certified farms." This study also found increased yields for corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and improved debt-to-asset and operating expense ratios! You can find out more about the MAWQCP at your local SWCD office or on the website: MyLandMyLegacy.com.

MORE TO EXPLORE: 10 Iconic Minnesota Food Dishes