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Boosting farm profits through water quality certification

Boosting farm profits through water quality certification

By Scout Nelson

The Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence highlights a profitable trend for farms engaged in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Over five years, certified farms not only enjoyed higher profits but also demonstrated better financial health than those not certified.

The study, titled "Influence of Intensified Environmental Practices on Farm Profitability," involved 126 certified farms. These farms reported higher gross and net farm incomes in 2023, with a five-year average net cash income significantly outperforming non-certified farms. Certified farms averaged over $213,600 in net cash income, compared to nearly $163,000 for their counterparts.

Key financial indicators such as debt-to-asset and operating expense ratios were also more favorable among MAWQCP farms. Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen and Keith Olander, Executive Director of AgCentric, emphasized the dual benefits of environmental stewardship and economic gain achieved through the program.

The certification not only ensures compliance with new water quality laws for a decade but also provides priority access to financial aid for implementing conservation practices. Since its statewide initiation in 2016, over 1,500 certified farms have adopted nearly 3,000 new conservation practices.

These efforts have significantly reduced sediment, soil erosion, phosphorus runoff, and greenhouse gas emissions, thereby enhancing the sustainability of Minnesota's agricultural landscapes.

Officials encourage more farmers to consider certification, highlighting the continuous and quantifiable benefits to both their operations and the environment.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-zms

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