Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Four Mower County farm families ensure clean water is part of their legacy


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today recognized four Mower County farm families for becoming the first in the county to be certified under the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Together these families are enrolling more than 2,200 acres into the certification program.

The event, held at the Freeborn Area Soil Health Team’s Fall 2016 Field Day, recognized the following Mower County families for their water conservation efforts:

• James Anderson

• Michael and Tom Cotter

• Bruce and Jackie Barnum

• Arvid and Jon Jovaag

The program, created by Governor Mark Dayton as a partnership between federal and state governments and private industry, has certified over 240 farmers in 55 counties, totaling over 140,000 acres in just over one year of statewide operation. The MAWQCP is a voluntary program that works with famers and local soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) to identify and fix risks to water quality on a field-by-field, whole farm basis. Producers who treat all risks to water quality on their operation are certified and deemed to be in compliance with new water quality rules and laws for 10 years.

“Producers from every corner of the state are applying because this program isn’t one size fits all, it works with producers to mitigate site-specific risks to water quality in a way that works for them, their farm, and our state’s water resources.” said Brad Redlin, MAWQCP Program Manager. “We’re honored to partner with these farmers in Mower County, and farmers across the state, to promote an agricultural water ethic.”

Tom Cotter and his father, Michael, farm corn, soybeans, and canning vegetables and raise cattle. “The Mower SWCD got me interested in the program and I like the fact that by becoming certified I know I am on the right path,” said Tom Cotter. “Farmers do care about the land and becoming certified is one way I can show the public how I specifically am caring for our land and water.”

In August 2016 Governor Dayton declared a Year of Water Action in Minnesota and is asking all Minnesotans to do their part to protect and preserve our most important natural resource. Farmers are the original stewards of the land and water and becoming certified is one of five actions the Governor is asking farmers to consider taking to continue protecting our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. A complete list of water-friendly actions for farmers and landowners can be found at

Farmers and landowners can get started in the MAWQCP contacting their local soil and water conservation district office. More information is also available at

The MAWQCP is a state-federal partnership that includes the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.


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