Beck Farms, Inc. Becomes Water Quality Certified
July 10, 2023 by Alyson Levig
Beck Farms, Inc., operated by its 4th generation family farmer, Tony Beck, has recently become water quality certified through the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). The program, which originated in 2014, is a voluntary process that certifies farming operations utilizing conservation-minded practices to protect water quality throughout Minnesota for 10 years. Photo: (from left to right) Jim Lahn, MAWQCP Area Certified Specialist, along with Tony Beck and his son posing with their MAWQCP certification sign.
“The certification quantifies our following of numerous conservation practices and programs that promote clean water,” Beck said.
Located near Wolf Lake in Becker County, Beck Farms, Inc. encompasses 1,100 acres that are divvied into pasture or hay land, cropland, and land within the conservation reserve program. Originally, the farm was a dairy operation, but after 4 generations the operations shifted to beef production, utilizing rotational grazing within their pastureland and cover crops throughout their hay ground.
Rotational grazing moves livestock to different units of pasture to encourage recovery of the previously grazed vegetation to prevent soil erosion and promote water quality while cover crops can be defined as any non-cash crop grown to the primary cash crop. These crops have the potential to increase soil organic matter, reduce erosion, improve soil structure, and promote water infiltration.
Currently, Beck Farms, Inc. is under another transition period where row crops are replacing sections of pasture and hay land, with cover crops and conservation crop rotation practices being implemented to protect water quality and minimize soil erosion. Additionally, adequate grass filter strips and riparian buffers next to watercourses are being maintained which also protect the water on or near Beck Farms, Inc.
“Conservation needs to be prioritized on the farm,” Beck said. “It’s what will help them continue onto the next generation."
In the future, Beck hopes to incorporate small grains into this farming rotation because of his short growing season, which will help him sow more cover crops on acres after harvesting. He is also looking into some forest practices to improve his tree stands and remove invasive weed species.
Overall, because of these best management practices implicated by Beck, Beck Farms, Inc. officially became a certified water quality producer on February 18, 2022.
“What we’re doing works well for our farming operation,” Beck said. “Even with a slight added expense, the end product is always better for our soil and water quality as we’re keeping nutrients and the soil in place.”
Posted In: MAWQCP