Corn helps keep rural Minnesota roads clear in the winter

Corn is both consumed by livestock and converted into homegrown ethanol for our car’s fuel tank. Minnesota corn also helps keeps rural highways clear of snow in the winter.

Wait, what?

Yes, strategically placed standing corn rows that remain up in the winter break the wind’s force and cause snow to collect around the corn rows instead of on the highway. The result is safer roads and fewer road closures in Greater Minnesota,

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Oil prices, not ethanol, to blame for recent spike in gas prices

Well, that didn’t take long. Gas prices have increased in recent weeks and the usual crowd isn’t wasting any time pointing the finger at ethanol.

Trilby Lundberg conducts the Lundberg survey of about 2,500 gas stations every couple of weeks. She says an increase in the price of ethanol (which is blended with gasoline) due to what’s happening in Ukraine has caused gas prices to go up.

Trilby Lundberg,

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USDA releases before and after of the 2014 Farm Bill

USDA has released a document highlighting some of the differences between the previous farm bill and the recently passed 2014 farm bill.

Notable differences on the farm safety net provisions include:

  • Direct payments are eliminated
  • Farmers will now choose between Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage

The new farm bill also consolidates several conservation programs and links basic conservation practices to crop insurance premium subsidies on highly erodible lands and wetlands.

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Stearns County farmers get details Minnesota's Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program

Farmers in the Middle Sauk River watershed district in Stearns County got a firsthand look at Minnesota’s new Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) during two open house events this week.

The Middle Sauk is one of four pilot areas selected to test and refine the voluntary program, which aims to increase on-farm conservation practices to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farmers who become certified and maintain approved management practices are assured that their farms meet Minnesota’s water quality goals and standards for 10 years.

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EPA lands another blow to ethanol

With public comments on its proposal to slash the Renewable Fuel Standard currently under review, the Environmental Protection Agency has dealt yet another blow to ethanol. The agency announced yesterday that it will switch its test fuel from the proposed E15 to E10 as the certification fuel for new emissions standards to be in place by 2017.

(E15 is gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. E10 is blended with 10 percent ethanol.)

EPA says it’s doing this because E15 isn’t widely available on a national scale.

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