An Environmental Initiative Program



The Field Stewards program rewards farmers for protecting water quality, helps food companies address water quality risks in their supply chains and provides consumers the opportunity to support cleaner water with their purchases. Together, we’re creating a market for clean water.


Field Stewards is managed by Environmental Initiative, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization. We’ve partnered with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, a voluntary effort run by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that helps farmers meet a rigorous and transparent standard for water quality protection on their farms.

Once a farm is certified through the state-led program, they can participate in Field Stewards. Here’s how the Field Stewards market for clean water works:

certificates-to-money graphic


Field Stewards was first deployed on a pilot scale by working with a limited number of farmers in Stearns County, Minnesota. In 2015, the program grew to include 15 farmers and more than 1,700 certified corn and soybean acres.

As part of the pilot, GNP Company will offset its Just BARE™ brand of chicken by purchasing certificates from 5,000–6,000 corn and soybean acres that have reached or exceeded Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification standards in central Minnesota.

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.

Certification is provided by Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, a voluntary program run by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Growing a market for clean water requires a diverse set of partners and perspectives. We benefit from the expertise of our partners:

cmm_web ei-logo-color2web kieser-associatesweb

Minnesota Department of Agriculture logognp_web