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Todd County is leading in ag water quality certified farms in Minnesota

Tom Williamson (right) receives his MAWQCP sign from SWCD technician Danielle Kuperus. (Contributed photos)1 / 3
Danny Peyton (left) receives his MAWQCP sign from Todd SWCD technician Danielle Kuperus.2 / 3
Mike Stine shows off his MAWQCP sign, which he was going to post as soon as the rain stopped.3 / 3

Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Todd County Soil, Water and Conservation District.

On May 11, three more Todd County producers were presented with their Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality certifications. The producers recently certified include Danny Peyton, Mike Stine and Tom Williamson.

Danny Peyton farms south of Long Prairie where he no tills his crops around the terraces. His family installed the first terraces in Todd County many years ago to combat erosion. Peyton flash grazes cattle during summer months, moving them frequently and allowing the grass time to rest.

This summer, Peyton will be planting a grass buffer to filter water before it leaves his crop field. He will also be fencing off a watering hole and installing a water tank to provide fresh water for his cattle.

Mike Stine, owner of Stonebridge Beef, runs a cattle operation north of Long Prairie where year-round he supplies individuals and restaurants with fresh beef on a weekly basis.

Stine has 14 paddocks on his farm that he rotationally grazes, moving the cattle every few days. Since he and his wife purchased the farm in the early 2000s, he has raised his organic matter from 0.5 percent to more than 5 percent through careful management and no-till planting.

Tom Williamson has a row crop production near Lake Osakis where he rotates between corn and soybeans and does reduced tillage.

Williamson has worked with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in the past to install water sediment basins to fix erosion issues on his fields.

Through a recommendation from the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP), Williamson will begin using a cover crop on his soybeans to help prevent future erosion.

The MAWQCP is a voluntary program through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farm owners and operators who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn assured that their operation meets the state’s water quality goals and standards for a period of 10 years.

Farm operators and owners seeking certification will be evaluated using an on-farm assessment tool. The on-farm assessment is customized specifically to each operation. It is a great educational opportunity to learn about how to maintain and improve environmental performance. Todd SWCD will be involved with the on-farm assessment process as each program applicant works toward this water quality certification.

Contact the Todd County Soil and Water Conservation District at (320) 732-2644 for more information about the program and to enroll.

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