Study shows conservation paying off in Minnesota

Results of a new study indicate farms using conservation practices see better financial returns compared to those that don’t.

Brad Jordahl Redlin manages Minnesota’s Ag Water Quality Certification Program and says findings from the state’s farm business management database show the average net cash income for certified farms was more than $50,000 more than non-certified farms.

“It’s not always known exactly why, but one thing that is consistent year in year out, every time every check, certified farms are just making more money.”

The Ag Water Quality Certification Program is voluntary and has grown to 1,500 farms since its launch in 2016.

He tells Brownfield it’s a site-specific approach that tackles conservation challenges by looking for ways to mitigate risk.

“Can be structural stuff, maybe having erosion going on (and) stop that might show up in the bottom line. People have always thought it would, but can’t always point it out. Certainly nutrient management is something that is front and center in everything we do in certification.”

And Jordahl Redlin says it’s logical there would be economic advantages to refining that aspect of a farm.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says the analysis provides continuous data that proves being ag water quality certified delivers better financial outcomes on top of the benefits to water and soil resources.

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