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Program compensates landowners for buffers to protect waterways

WILLMAR -- Landowners in Kandiyohi County now have a conservation program to compensate them for protecting the waterways.

Reinvest in Minnesota buffers are established through a perpetual easement purchased from the landowner and funded by the Clean Water Fund and Outdoor Heritage Fund.

The native vegetation buffers adjacent to ditches, lakes and streams allow runoff to be absorbed and filtered before it enters public waters.

According to a news release, the buffers created through Reinvest in Minnesota are required to be between 50 feet and 200 feet in width.

In certain cases that involves frequently flooded cropland, the buffers can be extended to 350 feet.

To be eligible, 50 percent of the acres must have been planted to crops in two of the last five years.

Cropland rates for Kandiyohi County range from $2,155 to $6,145 per acre, and non-cropland rates range from $1,293 to $3,687 per acre.

The buffers created through this Reinvest in Minnesota program can be "piggybacked" with other conservation programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program.

CRP offers 10- to 15-year contracts with payments per acre that range from $133 to $235 per acre, depending on soil types and length of enrollment.

New land entered receives a $150 per acre incentive.

No new contracts for CRP are being offered currently, however, pending renewal of the farm bill.

To learn more about the Reinvest in Minnesota buffer program, contact Ryan Peterson or Alex Nelson at the Kandiyohi County Soil and Water Conservation District office, 320-235-3906.