Minnesota Corn Growers Highlight Investments to Protect Surface and Groundwater

Collecting on-farm data about water quality from one of the Discovery Farms in Minnesota. Discovery Farms is one of several water quality initiatives supported by Minnesota corn farmers.

A new publication from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) highlights initiatives corn farmers have supported to protect surface and groundwaters from nitrogen loss. Initiatives include third-party research, innovative on-farm programs and people with an expertise in research and education.

The “Minnesota Corn Growers Association Nitrogen Initiatives” publication can be viewed here. Overall, MCGA invests about $2 million annually in projects that address corn production and water quality.

“Corn farmers grow the food, feed, fiber and fuel that meets the demands of a growing world population,” said Ryan Buck, MCGA President. “We need to make sure we continue doing it in a way that protects our lakes and rivers, as well as our drinking water. Corn farmers are always looking for ways to improve. The knowledge we gain from investing in research helps us not only farm better, but farm smarter and become better stewards of the land.”

Examples of nitrogen initiatives supported by Minnesota corn farmers include:

  • Discovery Farms Minnesota. A farmer-led effort to gather real-world water quality information from different types of farming systems and landscapes throughout the state.
  • 18 completed or ongoing research projects conducted by institutions such as the University of Minnesota and USDA that focus on nitrogen management, application rate, timing, source, drainage management practices and cropping systems.
  • Supporting two positions at the University of Minnesota that focus on nutrient management and water quality.

The majority of MCGA’s support for research efforts and other initiatives comes from Minnesota’s corn check-off, a one cent assessment farmers pay at the first point of sale for every bushel of corn sold in Minnesota.

“Water quality is one of the most talked about issues in agriculture right now,” said Adam Birr, PhD, director of research at MCGA. “By investing in research and supporting programs like Discovery Farms, corn farmers are making a commitment to preserving Minnesota’s water resources for the next generation and beyond.”

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