NEW ULM, Minn. (AP) _ A south-central Minnesota county has rejected the Department of Agriculture's offer for free nitrate well tests.

Brown County rejected the program in December after residents voiced fears that the data could be used to target farmers for additional regulations.

The department began the program in 2013 to give homeowners free information about their drinking water and to gather data about the state's groundwater. Testing water costs range from $17 to more than $100 depending on the number of contaminants being evaluated.

The program focused on about 300 townships vulnerable to nitrate contamination because of farming and soil type.

Nitrates can come from failing septic systems, fertilizer, and animal manure. High nitrate levels can cause health risks, such as a life-threatening blood disorder known as blue baby syndrome.