An Environmental Initiative Program


Field Stewards is a farmer-company partnership that protects water quality in a company’s own backyard while simultaneously furthering their business goals. It is a simple, low-cost program that takes steps to protect your supply chain, local community and reputation.

Compared to the difficulty of tracking and changing an untraceable supply chain, Field Stewards is a low-cost, efficient way for businesses to further sustainability goals while investing in farmers and local communities.


Field Stewards is a meaningful farmer-company partnership to improve Minnesota’s water quality and support a more sustainable supply chain. Here’s how Field Stewards works:

  1. Field Stewards works with food companies to identify priority sourcing areas and areas of interest
  2. Farmers who meet the rigorous standards of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program are certified as Field Stewards farmers
  3. Food companies agree to financially support these farmers for water quality protection on their farms, furthering sustainability goals while avoiding the difficulty of untraceable supply chains
  4. As a third party, Field Stewards distributes these funds to participating farmers based on acreage
  5. Through company support, farmers receive income, positive recognition and encouragement to continue stewardship efforts


Please contact Greg Bohrer, Senior Agricultural Manager at Environmental Initiative, at 612-334-3388 ext. 8112.

Though we are currently enrolling corn and soybean acres in Minnesota as part of our project with Just BARETM, Field Stewards can work with any type of crop production anywhere in the U.S. We are currently seeking new partnerships with farmers, local conservation organizations, and food companies. Please contact us if you would like to explore this opportunity.


Currently, Field Stewards is working with a limited number of farmers in Stearns County, Minnesota. In 2015, Field Stewards grew to enroll 1,700 acres of corn and soybeans by partnering with 15 farmers.

We’ve partnered with Just BARETM chicken, which is produced in Stearns County, to provide incentive payments to Field Stewards farmers.

Other results include:

2015 initial Field Stewards results


Field Stewards is administered by Environmental Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building partnerships to develop solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems.

This innovative and entrepreneurial approach to supply chain sustainability was created and vetted by national and Minnesotan water quality leaders. We benefit from their expertise and partnership:

Conservation Marketplace Midwest

Conservation Marketplace Midwest, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was created in 2008 by conservation professionals as an innovative approach to help meet water quality goals in watersheds across southern and central Minnesota. The straightforward process advances conservation adoption to help restore ecological function of our environment.

Kieser & Associates

Kieser & Associates, LLC is a Midwest-based environmental science and engineering firm specializing in water resources program development with an emphasis on market-based applications. They bring this focus to the Field Stewards program, assisting with environmental market design and providing technical expertise on complex water quality issues for agriculture.

McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. The McKnight Foundation use all our resources to attend, unite, and empower those they serve. The foundation is a primary funder of the Field Stewards work.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, is a voluntary program for Minnesota farmers to assess and treat their whole farm for risks posed to water quality. Participating farmers receive 10-year regulatory certainty that they will be in compliance with any new water quality laws or rules. The program supports Field Stewards with coordinated site assessment tools and processes and the bonus of regulatory certainty for farmers enrolled in both programs.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps people help the land through voluntary, incentive- and science-based approaches. NRCS is supporting the Field Stewards project through its Conservation Innovation Grants program, which funds innovative natural resource conservation approaches and technologies on private lands.

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-011. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District

The Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District is a local unit of government that provide leadership in the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources through programs and partnerships with individuals, businesses, organizations, and government. A Field Stewards partner since the beginning of the program, the Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District is the field representative and on-farm conservation expert for the partnership.