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Landowners have new options to meet Buffer Law Requirements

Funds available to soil and water conservation districts for implementation of buffer law.

New funding is now available to support landowners in meeting the requirements of Minnesota’s buffer law. The buffer cost-share program funds were approved at the June meeting of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). These Clean Water Funds, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton at the end of the 2017 legislative session, provide important support to the Governor’s Buffer Initiative.

The Kandiyohi Soil and Water Conservation District has been granted $50,000 to help landowners implement buffer strips on parcels of land that need to be compliant with the buffer law. The cost share will cover up to 75% of the cost; this includes purchasing seed, site prep and seeding. If you are interested in signing up, please get a hold of the Kandiyohi SWCD office as soon as possible.

The 2017 legislation also recognizes that some landowners may have hardships (such as weather) in meeting the public waters deadline. The added language allows for an eight-month extension for implementation when a landowner or authorized agent has filed a riparian protection “compliance plan” with their local SWCD by November 1, 2017. Compliance waivers offer a buffer deadline extension until July 1, 2018.

The state buffer law requires a buffer on public waters by November 1, 2017 and a buffer on public drainage ditches by November 1, 2018.

For more information on the buffer law, including the cost-share program, contact the Kandiyohi soil and water conservation district at 320-235-3906 ext. 3 or visit the BWSR webpage at 


MN CREP sign-up kicks off May 15, 2017

A Milestone for Conservation in Minnesota

St. Paul, Minn. - Landowners have a new option to protect their environmentally sensitive cropland with the introduction of the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (MN CREP). The kick-off for the MN CREP continuous sign-up begins May 15, 2017. MN CREP is a voluntary state-federal program designed to improve water quality and habitat conservation. It will protect and restore up to 60,000 acres of marginal cropland across 54 southern and western Minnesota counties, using buffer strips, wetland restoration and drinking water wellhead protection.

Native plantings on those acres will filter water, prevent erosion and provide critical habitat for countless grassland species including badgers, meadowlarks and monarch butterflies.

"This is a milestone in conservation for Minnesota," according to John Jaschke, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). "It targets the most critical acres and will provide water quality and habitat benefits for generations." The program is funded with approximately $350 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and $150 million needed from state sources including: Clean Water Fund, Outdoor Heritage Fund, Capital Investment (bonding), and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. MN CREP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and BWSR, but involves numerous partners including Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency as well as local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) staff. MN CREP is also supported by a coalition of more than 70 state and national organizations and groups.

"Minnesota is at a crossroads in conservation," said Jaschke. "The state is facing serious water quality challenges and we’re losing hundreds of thousands of acres of grassland through expiring CRP. MN CREP isn’t the whole answer, but it plays an important role in addressing both of these issues."

Landowners who are accepted in MN CREP will enroll in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for 14-15 years. At the same time, the land will be put into a permanent conservation easement through the state’s Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) easement program. Private ownership continues and the land is permanently restored and enhanced for water quality and habitat benefits.

"This program helps producers with the land that needs protecting so they can farm their best, most productive acres," explained Michelle Page, Minnesota Acting State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency. "We encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity."


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