There are many conservation programs that offer financial and technical assistance to landowners and producers/operators. These programs are designed to protect and improve soil and water resources, as well as improve wildlife habitat. There are conservation programs to fit every landowner's goals and objectives. From cost-share assistance to establish the conservation practice, to conservation practices that offer annual rental payments and incentives, all the way to paying landowners who would like to put a perputal conservation easement on their property to protect it forever. Below are some of the conservation programs available to landowners. For more information on programs please contact your local Farm Bill Biologist or your local Soil & Water Conservation District.
Pays a yearly rental payment in exchange for farmers removing environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and planting species that will improve environmental quality. CRP offers a variety of conservation practices to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Some of the practices are filter strips, shelter belts, field windbreaks, living snow fences, and duck nesting habitat. CRP is a 10-15 year contract with Farm Service Agency (FSA) and offers cost-share to establish the practice. For more information on CRP, click here.
- Erosion and Water Management Program (State Cost-Share)
The purpose of this program is to provide grants to Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) so they can help local landowners or land occupiers offset the costs of installing conservation practices that protect and improve water quality by controlling soil erosion and reducing sedimentation. Through the State Cost-Share Program, landowners or occupiers can request financial and technical assistance from their local SWCD to implement state-approved conservation practices. The program, which was originally approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 1977, provides up to 75 percent of the total eligible costs of a practice. Conservation practices range from water & sediment control basins, field windbreaks, unused well sealing, manure pit closures, shoreline & streambank restorations. For more information on State Cost-Share program, please contact your local SWCD office.
- Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Program
Conservation easements are a critical component of the state’s efforts to improve water quality by reducing soil erosion, phosphorus and nitrogen loading, and improving wildlife habitat and flood attenuation on private lands. Easements protect the state’s water and soil resources by permanently restoring wetlands, adjacent native grassland wildlife habitat complexes and permanent riparian buffers. In cooperation with county Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), BWSR's programs compensate landowners for granting conservation easements and establishing native vegetation habitat on economically marginal, flood-prone, environmentally sensitive or highly erodible lands. The land remains in private ownership and the landowner retains responsibility for maintenance and paying applicable real estate taxes and assessments. In 2015, RIM rates for conservation easements ranged from $1,500 to $4,000 per acre. Contact local SWCD office for more information. For more information on RIM Reserve Program, please click here.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. For more information on EQIP, please click here.
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) is a voluntary opportunity for farmers and agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect our water. Those who implement and maintain approved farm management practices will be certified and in turn obtain regulatory certainty for a period of ten years. Through this program, certified producers receive: Regulatory certainty: certified producers are deemed to be in compliance with any new water quality rules or laws during the period of certification. Recognition: certified producers may use their status to promote their business as protective of water quality. Priority for technical assistance:producers seeking certification can obtain specially designated technical and financial assistance to implemetn practices that promote water quality. For more information on MAWQCP, please contact your local SWCD office.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands. For more information on ACEP, please click here.
The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment. For more information on CSP, please click here.