Farming is central to the Minnesota way of life. The state ranks 5th in the nation for agricultural production, and more than half of all land area is occupied by agriculture. Unfortunately, irresponsible farming practices are also one of the greatest threats to Minnesota’s clean water. Runoff from monoculture crops and factory farms have left more than half of the lakes in some parts of the state unsafe for swimming and fishing.  

When there’s an environmental challenge in Minnesota, rest assured MEF members are on it. Read on to learn about Clean Water Fund/Clean Water Action’s current campaigns to reduce pollution from agriculture and ensure clean and safe water in every one of Minnesota’s 10,000 Lakes.  


Since 1974, Clean Water Fund has helped people campaign successfully for cleaner and safer water, cleaner air, and protection from toxic pollution in our homes, neighborhoods and workplaces. Organizations and coalitions formed and assisted by Clean Water Fund have worked together to improve environmental conditions, prevent or clean up health-threatening pollution in hundreds of communities and to strengthen policies locally and nationally. 

Clean Water Fund’s programs build on and complement those of Clean Water Action, a one-million-member national organization which has helped develop, pass, strengthen and defend the nation’s major water and toxics laws such as the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Superfund and others, including their state-level counterparts. 

Riparian buffers. Photo Credit: MPCA

Impact on Healthy Food & Farming:  

There are many ways pollutants enter our water, but runoff from single crop farmland and animal factory farms are some of the largest contributors to this problem. The long-term goal of Clean Water Action’s Cleaning Up Corporate Agriculture campaign is to create the political will and public demand to embrace and enact policy, market, and industry solutions that will significantly reduce industrial agriculture water pollution and help ensure clean lakes, rivers, and safe and affordable drinking water sources across the state. 

Clean Water Action Minnesota is working for three major changes to the status quo: 

  1. Change the Landscape: To transition to more native perennials, less row crops and fertilizers and pesticides 
  2. Change the Market: To incentivize and create markets like the Forever Green Program and Working Lands Drinking Water Protection Program and clean up supply chains for meat in our stores. 
  3. Change the Laws: To better protect our water and significantly reduce nutrient pollution in our water. 

All of these solutions have one thing in common — they positively impact our drinking water sources. The prioritize human health and could save Minnesotans millions of dollars by reducing the work required to clean up our water to ensure it’s safe before we drink it. 

Get Involved: 

Runoff pollution from industrial agricultural sources is one of the biggest challenges facing us now and into the future. Clean Water Action needs your help to make sure clean water solutions become a reality.  


To learn more about how MEF members are working together for healthier food and farms across Minnesota, visit the Impact page of our website.