Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski are working together in a new public-private partnership on behalf of water quality in Minnesota. The innovative project is the first of its kind, partnering the state with Land O’Lakes, as well as local farmers to improve and protect the water on their farms.
“I thank Land O’Lakes for their leadership in improving the quality of water in Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “By working together, we can improve the quality of our water for future generations of Minnesotans. I urge businesses, farmers, and landowners across Minnesota to follow this model of responsible stewardship.”
The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary program for farmers and landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices that protect and improve the state’s water resources. Since its inception in 2014, the program has certified over 150 farms totaling more than 83,000 acres. Together, the program keeps over 6.5 million pounds of sediment out of our rivers, while saving nearly 9 million pounds of soil and 4,500 pounds of phosphorous on farms, each year.
Now, through a groundbreaking public-private partnership with Land O’ Lakes, announced today, the agricultural cooperative company will work to expand participation in the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program through their ag retail network across Minnesota.
“Water is a finite resource, and we are pleased to partner with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the State of Minnesota on this first-of-its-kind public-private partnership to protect and enhance water quality across the state,” said Chris Policinski, President & CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Through our tools, insights and technology, we work to enable prudent management of water resources in our operations, on our member farms and through partnerships such as this to ensure a sustainable future for food and agriculture.”
Water quality has been a top priority this year for Governor Dayton. He proposed $220 million to ensure safe, clean and affordable water in his state, and he highlighted the challenges at the first-ever Governor’s Water Summit in February. The Governor also hosted Water Action Week in April and is calling for a Year of Safe Water Action to begin this summer.
“We are pleased to partner with Land O’Lakes. This important partnership will be critical to expanding conservation and water quality protections to more farms across the state,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program has already demonstrated the ability to achieve improved water quality outcomes, and this partnership will only continue to enhance those efforts.”