Ag loans available to improve water quality

The loans can be used to complete shoreline restoration projects such as this.

The loans can be used to complete shoreline restoration projects such as this.

The Ag BMP Loan program provides low interest, 3 percent loans to farmers, rural landowners and agricultural supply businesses to encourage agricultural Best Management Practices that protect or improve water quality. Some eligible practices include agricultural waste/feedlot improvements, improved manure handling, spreading and incorporation equipment, upgrading manure storage facilities, grassed water ways, stream bank protection, conservation tillage equipment and repair of failing septic systems.

The process begins with a landowner proposing a project to the Mille Lacs Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). If the project addresses local water quality priorities and the borrower meets eligibility requirements, the SWCD may approve the project and refer it to a participating lender. The local lender evaluates the financial aspects of the project, decides whether to offer a loan, and if so, negotiates the final terms of the loan. The borrower can then complete the project. When completed, the borrower provides receipts or invoices for the cost of the project to the lender.

Recently, Ag BMP Loans have been used in Mille Lacs County to repair or replace failing septic systems and to purchase equipment for manure handling and reduced tillage but they may also be used for water quality projects like shoreline restorations and managing storm water runoff. Contact Lynn Gallice at the Mille Lacs SWCD at 320-983-2160 to discuss your water quality improvement project idea.

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