New Cost-share Program to Help Upgrade Irrigation Systems

Irrigators in 19 Minnesota counties are eligible

St. Paul, MN: The first sign-up for cost-share for irrigation system upgrades and associated practices is now available to producers in 19 Minnesota counties. This cost-share is available through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) awarded by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

The program is available to producers with irrigation systems located within 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 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD). Applications are accepted through June 17, 2022, and are available through the 20 local SWCD offices.

The program provides financial and technical support to irrigators looking to adopt and integrate proven precision irrigation technology and nitrogen management practices to help optimize irrigation system operation. This will help address groundwater quality and quantity issues under irrigated cropland.

The cost-share is available for practices such as installing soil moisture sensors for irrigation scheduling, upgrades of sprinkler packages, conversion to variable rate application, advanced irrigation water management, and fertigation retrofits. The cost-share amount varies; applicants should contact their SWCD for more information.

Acres receiving cost-share for irrigation practices are also eligible for cost-share for cover crops, residue and tillage management, and nutrient management.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, the 20 SWCDs, Central Lakes College, AgCentric, University of Minnesota, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, state agencies, irrigator associations, and businesses have partnered to offer this program as part of a $3.5 million grant from the NRCS.

In addition to providing the cost-share, a limited number of irrigators will receive a stipend to participate in the AgCentric Farm Business Management Program to provide an annual financial analysis of their operation. 

More information is available through the program website: Contact your local SWCD for more information about the program and how to apply.


Alan Peterson Scholarship

The Alan Peterson Agricultural Scholarship serves to Respect natural resources, Embrace innovation, Advocate for agriculture at local, regional and national levels, Protect irrigated production agriculture and Promote research.

Alan Peterson lived and farmed in Sherburne County his entire life. He proudly served as a member of many agricultural boards at the local, county, and state levels and was president of the Irrigators Association of Minnesota for 18 years. One of his many passions was advocating for irrigation in the sandy soils of central Minnesota. He enjoyed communicating with farmers regarding irrigation questions and concerns. He was open to innovative practices that would increase crop productivity.

2021 Recipients

Congratulations to Anna Buckentine of Chaska, MN and Adam Lange of Deer Creek, MN the first two students to recieve annual Alan Peterson Agricultural Scholarship.

Anna is a 2017 graduate of Chanhassen High School in Chaska and is attending the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities studying Agricultural Education.  Her goal is to work in a high school setting teaching agricultural education. Until then, she will participate in a MAELC internship to hone her skills. Anna plans to bring her 4H experience and love for watching young people learn to the classroom. 

Adam is a 2019 graduate of Henning Public School in Deer Creek and is attending University of Minnesota at Crookston with a major in Agronomy and minor in Agricultural Business.  After graduation, he hopes to return home and continue growing his family crop farm. He looks forward to bringing the newly learned skills back to the farm, including new technology like drones to improve yields.

Drought Conditions and Water Conservation

The following is a newsletter from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the drought condition throughout Minnesota in 2021.

Drought is a naturally occurring aspect of Minnesota’s climate. In 2021 we have seen abnormally dry conditions to moderate drought conditions since early spring in many parts of the state. If dry conditions persist in specific areas of the state, the DNR might need to begin discussing water use restrictions with surface water appropriators in these counties. As the summer heats up, we realize that many of you also have electrical restrictions during peak load times.

 In the meantime, we are asking you to be extra vigilant with your water efficiency and to be observant of your neighbors’ drinking water supplies. Over 500 irrigators voluntarily completed the 2020 Water Conservation Report. These are the top water conservation measures being implemented by your fellow irrigators:


•       Leak detection and repair

•       Off-peak irrigating

•       Test sprinkler application rates and uniformity

•       Install Variable Frequency Drive pumps

Moisture Monitoring

•       Regular scouting crops for moisture

•       Rain gauges installed -3 or more per field

•       Soil testing for water holding capacity

Irrigation Scheduling

•       Checkbook Method

•       Crop-based irrigation scheduling method

•       Plant-based

Equipment Efficiency

•       47% report using center pivots – 41% use low pressure center pivots

•       47% can shut off water to unused areas, and 41% have end-gun management

•       42% have new or better nozzles and 34% have low volume/pressure nozzles

•       26% have a variable rate distribution system installed with speed control, zone control, or both

Plant and Soil Management to Save Water

•       Crop rotation – using some crops with lower water needs

•       Use drought tolerant/ lower water-use seed

•       Use a soil test to determine fertilizer needs

•       Regularly scout crops, follow Integrated Pest Management and Best Management Practices

•       Regularly work to improve soil health – cover crops, improve organic matter

The full Irrigation Water Conservation Report will be available later this summer on our Water Conservation webpage. The University of Minnesota has excellent crop irrigation information.

Also, please alert your local DNR hydrologists to any water supply concerns or issues during the summer.

Sign up to receive GovDelivery updates about drought in Minnesota, drought preparations and response, and important ways to conserve water.

August 2020

August 2020 Newsletter

Central Minnesota Irrigators are asking for your membership. The
annual meeting was held in January at the Prairie Event Center. In an effort
to continue the mission to educate and promote irrigated agriculture a
number of presentations were provided. Plans are developing for 2021 and
we hope you can take advantage of this gathering.

Central Minnesota has had a long standing organization-longer than state
IAM organization- with continued annual meetings and updated goals. The
mission hasn’t changed much over 50 years. We are committed to protecting
our right to irrigate, practicing sound water use management, protecting
water resources and ensuring water resource sustainability. Our
memberships bring together voices to protect our water rights.

Irrigation continues to allow producers to feed a growing world healthy and
sustainable foods on our farms. Our organization will continue to educate
members but its’ ability to do so and also remain ahead of the regulators
depends on your membership. Don’t assume that what we have today will
be here tomorrow. A membership lets you be a part of legislative efforts
like Day on the Hill, lobbyist, presentations on current issues coming down
the pipe and help support the purchasing of education equipment related
to irrigation at our local high schools through a scholarship Central
Minnesota Irrigators provides.

Thank you to our members for your continued support.
If you have not submitted payment for 2020 please considering mailing the
$30 membership to Robert Keppers, Central Minnesota Irrigators Treasurer,
220 Bottlemiller Dr, Wadena, MN 56482

To download the full August 2020 Newsletter click here

January 2019

January 2019 Newsletter

CMIC’s 50thAnnual Meeting
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Maslowski Wellness & Research Center
17 5th St SW
Wadena, MN 56482
Registration begins at 8:30 am

Accomplishments from 2018
Fund (2) educational projects focusing on water quality/precision agriculture
Develop a producer meeting that included the following topics:
-2018 Tax Reform
-Timeline for Permitting Process
-Farm Transition Tax Credit
-Organic Farming Options
-Legislative Irrigation Issues Update
-Act as a collective voice with IAM and other agencies

To view the full January 2019 Newsletter download it below:

August 2018

August 2018 Newsletter

You’re Invited to Attend Central Lakes College

August 24, 2018 9:00am – 2:30pm

Highlights on the following page. Here are some details for the day.
Tractor Ride and Drive – All ages are welcome to come and experience some of the latest technologies in equipment such as sprayers, the new RX, and tillage demonstrations with trained John Deere technicians courtesy of Midwest Machinery in Wadena, MN.

Drone Flight – Hands-on experience with drone technology experiencing flights and agricultural uses of drones for your farm with UAS Pilot Jonathan Beck.
History of 50 years of Ag Center – The Ag and Energy Center is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year. Come learn about the history of how it all began in 1968 from Del Lecy. This will be repeated during the day.

Kid’s Program – Kids (suggested ages 5-14) are invited to join in the kid’s activities ranging from tractor driving, digging for potatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and exploring drone technology relating to agriculture. Kids are welcome to take fresh veggies home with them!
Nitrate Reduction Water Quality Study-AgXplore-NZONE MAX – The goal of this four-year study is to reduce nitrate leaching through the use of AgXplore’s product NZONE MAX, which is mixed with all forms of urea when it is applied to the crop. Groundwater and soil pore water quality is being analyzed through monitoring wells and lysimeters set up at strategic areas in the field and along the parameter. Presenters will include Mark Peltier, Brandon McMillan, and Mitch Whyte from AgXplore and Dan
Whitney and Kristi Anderson from NWATS.
Ag and Ground Water Quality Tour – This presentation includes a tour of an off-site field. This study is designed to execute a land management plan that fosters soil health and provides adaptive management options that can be replicated to ultimately balance financial and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, intensive water quality monitoring is a significant portion of the study. Presenters include Ryan Perish with MDA and Dan Whitney with NWATS.
Kernza Plot Tour – This study was established last year to evaluate a new specialty crop kernza, and its potential impacts on coarse sandy soils. Studies include a variety study to study yield and plant characteristics, nitrogen application timing, and traditional cropping rotations compared to kernza while analyzing water quality through the use of lysimeters. Jake Junger will be presenting from the University
of Minnesota

Palmer Amaranth Workshop – Palmer Amaranth was recently discovered in Todd and Douglas counties. This workshop’s objectives is to increase farmer’s awareness of palmer amaranth and tactics that we can take to prevent the spread of this weed. Drone flights will be demonstrated during this workshop of how drones can be used to scout for this weed and other weeds that could be an issue. This workshop
is organized by the Todd County Weed Inspector Nancy Uhlenkamp
Trade show – Aside from publicized tours and workshops, several industry reps will be present at our trade show that will be in the machine shed from 11-2. These folks will be available to share their research as well as product comparisons and some results. The will include U of M, Agriculture Research Service (USDA), and many private label seed companies. Our variety trials companies will also be present to share results and go to plots as needed for observation.
Nitrate testing of well water – Attendees should plan to bring water samples for free nitrate testing.

To read the full Newsletter click the link above.

April 2017

Thank you to all who attended the CMIC Clinic and Annual meeting on January 26th in Parkers Prairie. We would like to extend a thank you to the following for their continued support.

  • Minnesota Valley Irrigation, Wadena, MN
  • Todd-Wadena Electric Coop, Wadena, MN
  • Green Valley Bean, Park Rapids, MN
  • Ag Country Farm Credit, Fergus Falls, MN
  • Green Plains Otter Tail LLC, Fergus Falls, MN
  • Auto Value, Staples, MN
  • Napa, Park Rapids & Wadena, MN
  • Elsner Well Drilling, Park Rapids, MN
  • Leaf River Ag, Wadena, MN
  • Professional Agronomy Services, Wadena, MN
  • Klimek Bros Well Drilling, Alexandria, MN
  • Kelly Bean Co., Mayville, ND
  • Amundson Peterson INC, Elbow Lake, MN
  • RDO Equipment, Fergus Falls, MN
  • Titan Machinery, Fergus Falls, MN
  • EOT Soil and Water, Perham, MN
  • First International Bank & Trust, Staples, MN
  • CHS Prairie Lakes, Starbuck, MN
  • Midwest Machinery Co, Wadena, MN
  • Northwest Aquwatek, Wadena, MN
  • Mid Central Mapping LLC, Miltona, MN
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Staples office
  • Dicks Standard Gappa Oil, Parkers Prairie, MN
  • Quicks NAPA Auto Parts, Parkers Prairie, MN
  • Cropmetrics, North Bend, NE
  • Central Lakes College Ag & Energy Center, Staples, MN

For the full newsletter click the link below to open

If you have a topic that you would like to see discussed in a future newsletter please contact Keith Olander, CMIC Educational Advisor, Central Lakes College Associate Dean of Agriculture at 1830 Airport Rd, Staples, MN 56479 or phone 1-218-894-5163 or email
If you are no longer interested in being on the CMIC mailing list please contact Keith at the above address with a subject of CMIC. Thank you for your input.