By investing in the Minnesota corn check-off, our state’s corn farmers are setting the stage for profitability. While low commodity prices are a point of stress, allocating resources to improving the areas we can control is more important than ever. Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting how your investment is doing just that.
Minnesota’s corn growers are working towards becoming the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the nation. Accomplishing this mission requires a commitment to both land stewardship and sustainable farms that provide a fair margin of profit for growers.
Your investment in the corn check-off is building a roadmap to sustainability through the development of best management practices. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is working with third-party research institutions, growers and state officials to develop practices that produce on-farm savings and leave the land fruitful for future generations.
With more farmers implementing cover crops, reduced tillage, variable-rate nitrogen management and more, your corn check-off is developing comprehensive best management practices that lead to a healthier and more productive agricultural system. Here are just a few highlights:
MCGA worked with University of Minnesota Extension to produce the Nitrogen Smart program. About to start its third year, more than 600 farmers have attended Nitrogen Smart seminars to learn about the latest research on efficient nitrogen management practices that not only reduce environmental impacts, but also costs for the farmer.
Your investment in Nitrogen Smart has paid off for attending farmers, who lowered their average fertilizer costs by more than $7,000 in 2016 and $4,000 in 2017 due to improved nitrogen management practices.
Check-off dollars are also being invested in on-farm, conservation-minded research projects through MCGA’s Innovation Grant Program. To date, 30 farmer-led projects have been funded, with highlights including revolutionary irrigation strategies, novel nitrogen application techniques and an all-in-one approach to planting cover crops.
MCGA also works with the National Corn Growers Association to support the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), which is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economical and environmental standpoint. SHP recently announced it received funding to measure how soil health-promoting practices benefit productivity, farmer livelihoods and the environment. Four farms in Minnesota will be included as part of the study.
With the help of your investment in the corn check-off, modern farming is evolving through the development of best management practices that lead to more productive and sustainable farms. In times of low commodity prices, these efforts are crucial to the health of Minnesota agriculture.