agricultural water quality solutions


Despite our shared commitment to clean water, many of Minnesota’s assessed water bodies, including surface water and groundwater, do not meet water quality standards. Given that surface water and groundwater quality is directly connected to land use, the agriculture industry is uniquely positioned to offer critical solutions. 

Excess agricultural inputs (like fertilizers) that are not absorbed by plants, fixed into the soil, or naturally degrade will migrate, infiltrating into groundwater or draining into surface water. Soil that is not protected and healthy can erode into surface water, carrying with it bacteria, phosphorus, and other contaminants. 

Famers are stewards of the land they operate. Many manage their land with the specific intent to protect it, and the agricultural industry continues to innovate and bring new technologies to market that can maximize yields and resource efficiency. However, more can be done to ensure healthy, productive farms while protecting and improving Minnesota’s lakes and rivers for current and future generations. 


On behalf of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Environmental Initiative convened a group of key players in the agricultural sector to develop a set of policy recommendations and industry commitments to reduce agriculture's impact on both groundwater and surface water quality.  

Consensus recommendations were developed by agricultural leaders over a series of four meetings facilitated by Environmental Initiative between September and December 2016. 

A final recommended framework has been presented to Governor Dayton for consideration and possible inclusion in the Governor’s 2017 legislative package. 

Contact Greg Bohrer at 612-334-3388 ext. 8112 with questions or read our list of frequently asked questions to learn more.