Minnesota officials seek cropland for conservation project 10 Jul 18

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota officials are working to sign up more landowners under a new program that pays farmers to permanently set aside farmland for conservation to improve water quality.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which launched last year in Minnesota, enrolls farm owners for 15 years. Farmers in the program are also signed up for the state Reinvest in Minnesota program agreeing to a permanent easement, a legal document stipulating the land must always be managed for conservation.

The programs come as the state is in jeopardy of losing 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of grassland over the next five years.

Aaron Larsen is a program manager for the West Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District. Larsen says it’s critical to preserve land permanently to maximize water quality protection.

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org