NRCS-backed pilot positions Stearns County farmers to reap carbon credits

Within the Sauk River watershed, producers who implement soil health practices could tap an emerging revenue stream, earning credits for improvements that benefit water quality and sequester carbon. For Ben Mergen, it’s an opportunity to increase profitability on his fifth-generation dairy farm.

Ben Mergen checked a 13-acre Farming Township soybean field on June 29 where he planted soybeans into a living oats-winter rye cover crop this spring. A well-timed chemical application later killed the cover crop. Mergen is among the first in the Sauk River watershed to sign up for a pilot project that could lead to receiving payments for carbon credits. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR
The soybeans “planted green” into a living cover crop were on pace with conventionally tilled soybeans on Mergen’s farm near Albany.
Natural Resources Conservation Service website: www.nrcs.usda.gov
Ben Mergen moved back to the family farm in Farming Township about 10 years ago.
Ben Mergen and daughter Ella checked a 13-acre soybean field on June 29 in Farming Township. Working with Stearns County SWCD staff and NRCS assistance, this year Mergen is trying cover crops on 90 acres.

ESMC Pilot Project Details

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The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is among the pilot project supporters. BWSR’s mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners. www.bwsr.state.mn.us

Our mission is to improve and protect Minnesota’s water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners.