Soil health cost-share program now open for enrollment in Olmsted County

(ABC 6 News) – The Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has opened enrollment for the second year of its soil health program.

The SWCD encourages Olmsted County farm operators to apply for the cost-share program.  

Olmsted SWCD, with support from the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, created the groundwater protection and soil health initiative with $5 million allotted through the American Rescue Plan Act

Farm operators in Olmsted County can take advantage of cost sharing through this program to: 

“By empowering farmers to be environmental stewards, we are actively working to reduce nitrate leaching, increase nitrogen retention, limit soil erosion, and safeguard Olmsted County’s precious water resources,” said SWCD Manager Skip Langer. 

The program promotes growing beneficial crops such as small grains, forages, other alternative crops, and grazing lands. The program also supports the integration of cover crops into conventional farming systems. The diverse crop rotations and cover crop integration practices target the reduction of excess crop nutrients leaching into groundwater. These practices also reduce soil erosion. The practices promote improved soil health, farm sustainability, and operator profitability. 

“Continuing our soil health program means we can continue the great work started around protecting our soil and groundwater that sustains the agricultural community and other industries,” Langer said. “With support from the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, we’re excited to continue our mission of empowering farmers to be environmental stewards.” 

Applications will be accepted until Nov. 17, 2023. Farm operators can apply, HERE.