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Healthy Soils = Productive Farmlands

Agriculture and Agronomy

There is a growing recognition for the need for the adoption of soil health practices on farmland. These practices are the key to the long-term productivity of farmland.


Healthy soil = strong agricultural lands

Healthy soils produce high quality, nutrient dense produce. Furthermore, soils filled with strong rooted, organic matter are able to hold larger capacities of moisture. Moisture retention is not only better for crops, but also means less erosion. When the land retains water, it acts as a giant sponge, filtering and absorbing nutrients and contaminants that would otherwise enter water sources. Thriving soils, with abundant organic matter, stack benefits for farmers and their neighbors.

All about soil health

Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Healthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes.

There are five principles to manage for soil health:

Maximize Presence of Living Roots

Minimize Disturbance

Maximize Soil Cover

Maximize Biodiversity

Integrate Livestock

5 principles of soil health diagram.png



Agriculture Programs

Agriculture Best Management Practices (BMP) Loan Program
MN Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Our staff will work with you and your lender on a low interest loan to help finance projects and equipment for agricultural use. Morrison SWCD is the local administrator for this program.

Minnesota Buffer Law
MN Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR)

Minnesota law requires perennial vegetative buffers of 16.5ft along ditches and 50ft along public waters. The buffers help filter out pollutants that would otherwise enter the water.

Irrigation Water Management

Financial and technical support is available for irrigators looking to increase their watering efficiency. Addressing these concerns will diminish groundwater quality and quantity concerns.

MN Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP)
MN Department of Agriculture (MDA)

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is a voluntary program for agricultural landowners to take the lead in implementing conservation practices to help protect Minnesota's water. This program has numerous benefits including regulatory certainty for ten years, recognition to promote the business, and financial and technical assistance.

Cover Crop Cost Share
MN Board of Water
and Soil Resources (BWSR)

The Morrison SWCD has a flat rate cost share program for cover crop planting. This program follows the same planting standards as the NRCS. Please see our current flyer for more details or call Conservation Agronomist, Kolby Beehler.


Conservation Agronomist

Kolby Beehler

I can help find ways to accomplish your agricultural goals. There are plenty of management options, and you are in control of which ones to use.

Conservation Agronomist
Phone - (320) 733-3045

Email -


Conservation & Cattle

Grazing, when managed carefully and properly, can actually improve wildlife diversity and soil health.

Conservationists and agricultural professionals have learned that when creatively managed, cattle can mimic grazing patterns similar to that of bison, which once covered the prairie and whose presence was vital to the ecosystem. Cattle may have different grazing patterns than wild bison, but agricultural professionals have management options that can be used to minimize the impacts of cattle. Those include fenced enclosures around sensitive areas and tactics that shift the locations where cattle spend most of their time. Creating new burned patches, turning on/off drinking water facilities, and moving mineral feeders around.

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