Twenty local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are now taking applications for Implementing Innovative Irrigation Practices to Protect Groundwater Quality and Quantity RCPP. The sign-up period will run from May 5 to June 17. 

Agricultural irrigation producers interested in adopting and integrating precision irrigation and nitrogen management practices and technologies in the project area are eligible for financial and technical support through this program. The project will focus on conservation irrigation practices utilizing a flexible, tiered approach where irrigators can participate at the level that is relevant for their operation and attitude towards technology adoption and risk:

The first tier includes implementing the relatively inexpensive practice of installing advanced soil moisture sensors in irrigated fields to enhance water management through irrigation scheduling. 

The second tier includes installing precision irrigation packages, including updates to panel, nozzles, and variable frequency driven pumps.

The third tier includes installing the precision irrigation package along with newest technology for irrigation water and nutrient management. This can include recent, proven systems using remote operation technology, crop status sensors and variable rate fertigation systems.  

This 5 year project is designed to work directly with agricultural producers using irrigation in the project area to implement conservation practices that protect groundwater quality and quantity, promote expanded precision irrigation practices, build professional capacity to guide farmers in applying conservation practices, promote and organize farmer to farmer learning opportunities, utilize partner’s expertise to design innovative approaches to expand conservation efforts, and to quantify the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the implemented practices.

Interested producers in the 20 SWCD project area including the Becker, Benton, Cass, Dakota, Douglas, East Otter Tail, Grant, Hubbard, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Wadena, Washington and West Otter Tail SWCDs are encouraged to contact their local SWCD office for more details.