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U.S. ag secretary kicking off water quality project in Minnesota

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join Gov. Mark Dayton in St. Paul Monday to kick off a new program aimed at changing farming methods to improve water quality.

Officials say the federal-state partnership that produced the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program is the first of its kind in the country.

MPR reports farmers who volunteer to be certified will have access to technical assistance and federal funding. The USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency are partnering with several state agencies.

The group Conservation Minnesota says $3 million in Clean Water Legacy funding from the state will be added to $6 million in federal money to pay for the program. It also says the certification program will initially be tried in four watersheds in agricultural areas of the state.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a page with more background.

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