Minnesota’s corn growers are working towards becoming the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the nation. The goal requires both a strong commitment to land stewardship by the state’s farmers and a financial commitment to ensure today’s best practices reflect the latest research.
Through the investment in the corn check-off, Minnesota’s farmers are working with third-party research institutions, growers and state officials to develop practices that leave the land fruitful for future generations. Through the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), corn farmers are also advocating for best practices within the ag community to increase their adoption.
Today’s farmers are implementing cover crops, reduced tillage, variable-rate nitrogen management and more as comprehensive best management practices that lead to a healthier and more productive agricultural system.
For example, MCGA worked with University of Minnesota Extension to produce the Nitrogen Smart program. Through the first two years of the program, more than 600 farmers have attended Nitrogen Smart seminars to learn about the latest research on efficient nitrogen management practices that reduce environmental impacts.
Farmers who were early adopters of best practices like cover crops and conservation tillage are hosting an increasing number of field days for farmers who are interested in seeing these practices in action. And attendance continues to grow as more growers are eager to learn about practices that promote environmental responsibility and sustainability.
And like all best management practices, those employed on the farm continue to evolve with the latest research. Minnesota’s corn growers are investing in work done at the University of Minnesota and beyond to ensure they are on the forefront of the agricultural innovations.
Take nitrogen fertilizer as one example. Since 2014, the state’s corn growers have invested nearly $6 million of their own funds through the corn check-off in education and research that improves nitrogen management strategies to reduce nitrate loss in water.
The multi-million dollar investment has helped farmers increase their nitrogen use efficiency. By doing so, they are better protecting the state’s water supply.
The goal to become the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the nation is a grassroots, farmer-driven effort. The steps taken along the way will produce a more sustainable ag sector that benefits all Minnesotans. It is one of many ways MN Corn Grows MN.