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Drazkowski Agricultural Water Quality Certification

Minnesota State Senator Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) is proposing a property tax credit to encourage farmers to implement conservation practices that protect water quality in southeastern Minnesota, where environmental groups and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have stoked fears about nitrate levels in groundwater.

Senate File 4241 would provide a $5 per acre tax credit for agricultural and rural vacant land enrolled in the state's Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

It would apply in eight counties: Goodhue, Wabasha, Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, and Winona. The bipartisan bill received a hearing last Thursday in the Senate Taxes Committee. 

Sen. Drazkowski testified that the credit is a "small carrot" to incentivize farmer participation in a muli-phase solution after the Environmental Protection Agency pressured the state to do more about nitrates contaminating drinking water drawn from private wells in the Karst region.

The voluntary certification program, run by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, guides farmers on implementing approved practices to prevent erosion and runoff over a 10-year period. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in a larger tax bill later this session.

The bill is supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Cattlemen's Association, and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.


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