BWSR has completed a feasibility study and plan for a Working Lands Watershed Restoration Program – a program that would provide incentives for landowners to plant perennial and cover crops that will improve water quality. The report, posted below, includes an overview of promising crops and livestock enterprises, including perennial grasses and winter annual cover crops that keep roots in the soil and vegetation on the land throughout the year, improving soil health and wildlife habitat, storing carbon, and capturing excess nitrogen. Many of these crops can be grown for food or beverage production, grazed, used for livestock feed and bedding, or processed for applications such as bio-jet fuel, bio-based packaging, and renewable chemicals.
The study was directed by the 2016 Minnesota Legislature (Laws 2016, c. 189, s. 4) with the goal of improving water quality by increasing living cover on the landscape at a watershed scale.
BWSR coordinated this effort with stakeholders and other state agencies, including agricultural and resource conservation interests, commodity groups, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, the biofuels industry, landowners, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Health, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
BWSR will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to analyze water quality impacts, track the progress of crop development, and investigate emerging market opportunities. Updates will be posted to this page regularly.
- Report to the Minnesota Legislature, February 1, 2018
- Appendix 1: Working Lands Survey Summary Report
- Appendix 2: Six Watershed Comparison Spreadsheets & Documentation
- Appendix 3: Farm Bill Opportunities for Working Lands
- Appendix 4: Water Quality Modeling Results
- Project Update, December 2017
- Interim Report, October 2017
- Interagency Coordination Meeting, Jan. 26, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, Feb. 13, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, July 28, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, September 28, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, November 16, 2017
- Stakeholder Meeting, December 8, 2017
Forum on Working Lands for Grazing, Forage, and Feed, April 27, 2017 - click here for presentations
Forum on Market Opportunities for Cover Crops and Perennials, December 15, 2017
- CAAFI Working Lands Oilseeds for Sustainable Aviation Fuel
- ANTARES Biomass Project Development
- Economics of producing advanced oil seeds, perennial crops, and Kernza in Minnesota