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Environmental Quality Assurance - Assisting Dairy Farmers in Achieving Better Environmental Stewardship

The Center for Rural Design was charged with defining environmental priority regions within six of Minnesota's counties: Marshall, Olmsted, Ottertail, Pipestone, Stearns, and Wright. These regions were defined by combining surface water, ground water, habitat, and social issues.

Minnesota Dairy Decision Support Systems is based upon the Environmental Practices on Dairy Farms project. Environmental Practices on Dairy Farms is a product of an initiative by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) in collaboration with Chris Hanson Design Solutions, the Center for Rural Design, the Department of Landscape Architecture, and the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota. The initiative sought to coalesce and build upon prior work done at the University related to the definition and spatial modeling of the Resource Protection Framework for agriculture and the Odor From Feedlot Setback Estimation Tool (OFFSET). These efforts resulted in a conceptual definition of Environmental Quality Assurance Priority Areas and a mechanism to model and quantify these areas within the agricultural landscape. The assessment supported the implementation of a broader Environmental Quality Assurance (EQA) Program that provides technical support and financial assistance to dairy producers in achieving a level of environmental stewardship that exceeds the level necessary to comply with environmental quality regulations. Funding for the Environmental Practices on Dairy Farms project was provided by the Minnesota Future Resources Fund as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.