ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota will get $9 million under an initiative announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

The agency has approved 115 proposals nationwide for the first round of funding under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which was part of the 2014 farm bill.

Gov. Mark Dayton says the state will use its grant to establish its Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program as a national demonstration project. Dayton launched the initiative in 2012 along with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The program encourages farmers to adopt voluntary clean water practices. Those who get certified are assured that regulations won't change on them for 10 years.

Dayton says it's been popular. It's been piloted in four watersheds and has already certified 28 agricultural operations encompassing over 10,000 acres of farmland.

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