Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership

The Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership is a unique collaboration of public, private, non-profit partners that serves the Central Minnesota region. It incubates and develops new ideas and mechanisms to help farmers make changes that will result in both economic and environmental benefits for their farms and their communities.

The project aims to deliver farmer-led innovative solutions to accelerate improvements in the environment, particularly for water quality, soil health, habitat, and climate protection. Partners implement projects directly, work with outside organizations to support implementation, and/or serve in an advisory role for external projects.

The Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership intends to be a trusted connection between farmers and the general public, providing collaborative, quantifiable, environmental solutions and improvements today and tomorrow.

Return on Conservation Investment Project 

Conservation practices can make farms more economically sustainable and protect natural resources. However, there is little research on the environmental benefits or financial costs of conservation practices targeted for farmers in Central Minnesota. The Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership hopes to help fill this gap through their Return on Investment Case Study Project.  

Project partners are working with three farms in Stearns County to develop case studies on the economic and environmental impact of conservation farming practices. All three farmare integrated dairy and row crop operations, but they are different sizes, use different farming practices, and exhibit different environmental benefits. Each farmer is enrolled in the Farm Business Management program at Central Lakes College or Ridgewater College where they work with instructors to conduct an economic analysis of farm operations and develop sound financial records.

Separately, environmental data will be gathered from each farm through Field to Market’s FieldPrint Calculator. Houston Engineering Inc. will analyze both financial and environmental data to develop conclusions around the financial impact of conservation practices. Members will work with farmers to communicate their findings and stories to other farmers by attending and presenting at existing farmer gatherings and meetings.