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New public-private water quality initiative announced for the Cedar River watershed

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has announced a public-private partnership to help improve water quality and fight flooding in the Cedar River watershed in southern Minnesota.

It’s a collaboration among the department and CFS Cooperative, Land O’Lakes, Hormel Foods, the Environmental Initiative and the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District. It follows an agreement signed by Gov. Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes in 2016.

Participating farmers will work with CFS and Land O’Lakes to help implement precision agricultural practices that improve water quality. In turn, the farmers can join the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

The Cedar River watershed covers parts of Dodge, Freeborn, Mower and Steele counties.

The voluntary program has now certified over 500 producers across Minnesota, helping improve water quality on over 300,000 acres.