ST. PAUL — Minnesota's agricultural water quality program was awarded $9 million in federal funding on Friday, Nov. 8, the state Department of Agriculture announced.

The five-year grant is the second that the program has received since 2015 through a U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation partnership. Founded in 2014, the state Water Quality Certification Program has accredited an estimated 800 farms for their efforts to meet Minnesota water conservation standards.

Practices that the program encourages are aimed at reducing soil displacement caused by agricultural runoff, as well as phosphorous leaching and nitrogen loss. They are used across from 550,000 acres of Minnesota farm land, according to the state agriculture department.

State environmental officials have said that conservation practices benefit both farmers and the environment. Strip-tilling, for example, is thought to use less fuel — meaning that farmers don't have to buy as much of it while simultaneously cutting back on their emissions.

In a statement, a state agricultural department spokesperson said that the USDA funding will go to the farms themselves for the implementation of water conservation practices.