More than 350 farmers became "Nitrogen Smart" this spring

More than 350 farmers earned "Nitrogen Smart" designations this spring.

More than 350 farmers earned “Nitrogen Smart” designations this spring.

A series of “Nitrogen Smart” sessions throughout Minnesota drew more than 350 farmers to learn more about a topic important to both farmers and non-farmers: managing nitrogen fertilizer more efficiently.

“Nitrogen is a hot topic right now,” said Brad Carlson, a University of Minnesota Extension educator who presented at each of the eight “Nitrogen Smart” sessions. “It was great to see so many farmers come out and participate. If you couldn’t attend, stay tuned. We’re hoping to run the sessions again in December.”

Each session was tailored to fit specific regions of the state. If Carlson and his team were in Crookston, the information presented reflected nitrogen management challenges and best management practices in the Crookston region. Ditto for the other stops in Fergus Falls, Willmar, St. Cloud, Lamberton, Waseca, Farmington and Rochester.

A major topic covered was all of the new tools available to help farmers better manage Nitrogen fertilizer. Technology advancements like variable-rate applicators (adding Nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season, as the crop needs is) and remote sensing can help farmers become more efficient in their Nitrogen management and better protect area water quality.

Brad Carlson

“We tried to help farmers develop a better understanding of these new tools and how to use the data to more effectively manage their nitrogen,” Carlson said. “Technology advancements can really help a farmer cut costs and reduce environmental impact. There is a lot of opportunity.”

On a feedback form following one of the sessions, a farmer wrote that the session was “exceptional” and “upfront, with facts.”

“That was our goal,” Carlson said. “To deliver data and information in a way that helped attendees become better farmers.”

The sessions were supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. All attendees received a “Nitrogen Smart” designation, which is good for three years.

Stay tuned for details and information about additional “Nitrogen Smart” sessions in December.

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