Connecting farmers with nutrients to improve environmental and economic outcomes

Aerial landscape of farmland at sunrise.

MINNEAPOLIS – Protecting Minnesota’s water quality and soil health are priorities for the organizations and farmers in the Headwaters Agricultural Sustainability Partnership (HASP), a group administered by Environmental Initiative. The partnership was recently recognized for its local leadership and innovation with a $10 million grant award from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to build a network connecting crop and manure-producing farmers for mutual benefit.

By building this network, the partners will aim to reduce excessive nutrients, harmful bacteria, and additional sediment adversely affecting several watersheds. The grant will be used to support a range of initiatives including mapping systems, expanding nutrient solutions for enhancing crop production, and improving on-farm manure handling equipment and systems.

“HASP partners will work with local landowners to promote sustainable land use practices through on-farm technical assistance,” said Dennis Fuchs, administrator, Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District. The holistic approach will track water quality improvements and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

“As one of the partners in HASP, we are thrilled to receive this grant from the USDA and excited to continue our work towards creating a more sustainable future,” said Alexis Glick, CEO, Nature Energy North America. “This funding will allow us to expand our efforts to protect natural resources and reduce emissions while supporting farmers in Minnesota.”

The partners will also focus on reaching historically underserved producers in this project. By providing financial and on-farm technical assistance to young or underserved producers, this partnership is well-positioned to support people interested in farming as a career.

The $10 million grant supports HASP’s ongoing efforts to improve farming practices, environmental outcomes, and economic vitality. “This project is a ’win-win’ for the environment, farmers, and rural communities. Funds will help build enhanced manure storage and nutrient management practices. Benefits will include improved soil and water quality and reduced emissions,” said Steve Peterson, farmer and HASP chair.

The partnership has demonstrated on-farm environmental and economic benefits through their return-on-investment work which will expand with another USDA-funded program, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Farmer-Led Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative: Building Success from the Ground Up.


About Environmental Initiative
Environmental Initiative is a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis that catalyzes collaboration across perspectives, power, and systems for social equity and environmental health. The Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership is a cross-sector partnership administered by Environmental Initiative. Focused on agricultural conservation practices, this partnership is a unique collaboration of partners deploying solutions in Minnesota to benefit the environment, economic viability of farmers, and vitality of rural communities.