The Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center is currently seeking farmers willing to participate in the Discovery Farms Minnesota program. Discovery Farms Minnesota is a farmer led effort to gather field-scale information on water quality impacts from a variety of farm enterprises in Minnesota. The mission of the program is to gather water quality information under real-world conditions, providing practical, credible, site-specific information leading to better management decisions, supported by a better understanding of the relationships between land management and water quality.
What is a Discovery Farm?
A Discovery Farm is an operating farm that allows the systematic collection of information on water leaving the farm, along with information on farm practices, soils and weather. This information, collected over a period of several years, allows an evaluation of management strategies and practices employed on Minnesota farms.
Organization of Discovery Farms Minnesota
Discovery Farms Minnesota emphasizes farmer input and direction. A Steering Committee comprised of representatives from Minnesota farm, agribusiness and conservation organizations guides the overall direction of the program, assists in the identification of research priorities and helps in the selection of cooperators and projects.
Discovery Farm Locations in Minnesota
There are multiple Discovery Farms located throughout Minnesota. The network is expected to grow to better represent the diversity of agricultural enterprises and settings in Minnesota. Environmental and farm management data are collected at each Discovery Farm location. Water samples are gathered automatically at monitoring stations whenever water flows from the field through either surface runoff or drain tile flow. Samples are tested for sediment, nutrients, and other parameters, depending on conditions specific to the farm system being evaluated.
What is required to participate as a Discovery Farm?
- Farmers selected as Discovery Farms will be in the program for 5 to 7 years. Collection of baseline data will occur in the first 1 to 2 years. Best management practices will be identified based on the results of the baseline monitoring and implementation of these best management practices will be monitored for the remainder of the program.
- Must operate a functioning agricultural enterprise that is representative of the industry.
- Must be willing to keep and share farm management records.
- Must be willing to adopt changes in farming practices, if needed, determined by the baseline monitoring.
- Willingness to participate in field days or meetings to discuss their experiences with other farmers.
What will participants receive?
- An annual stipend for time and assistance with this project.
- Installation of monitoring equipment to determine the level of nutrient and sediment loss.
- Annual review and analysis of data collected at the monitoring site.
All interested farms and producers are encouraged to apply. Applications can be downloaded below and submitted at any time.
Applications can be emailed or sent to:
Tim Radatz/Discovery Farms Minnesota
3080 Eagandale Place
Eagan, MN 55121
Latest posts by Tim Radatz (see all)
- Lessons Learned from Schafer Farms – Implementing Conservation in a Rolling Landscape - April 8, 2020
- What happened to spring? - July 15, 2019
- Tile flow and nutrient movement in Northwest Minnesota - September 13, 2018