Category: Conservation

At Farmers Fair, farmers share conservation know-how

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) teams up with Sauk River Watershed District each spring to organize the Stearns County Farmers Fair, where they bring farmers the latest information about conservation.

What has made the fair successful in its first two years is the farmers themselves give the presentations about the conservation practices they have implemented, the methods they use—what works and what hasn’t worked.

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Minnesota corn farmers take proactive approach to water quality

In fall 2016, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and its grower leaders announced an ambitious goal to become the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the nation. A major part of that goal is to continuously improve the measures implemented by farmers to protect nearby waterways.

Minnesota’s corn growers are investing in research and education to better manage their use of nitrogen fertilizer. Since 2014, Minnesota’s corn farmers 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.

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Seed stewardship during planting

While we wondered if it would ever come, planting season is almost here for much of Minnesota. In advance of farmers hitting the field, farmers are reminded of the importance of good seed stewardship.

Today’s seed treatments help farmers protect their crops from insects and disease, allowing for healthier crops and greater yields while limiting potential environmental impacts.

Like farming, there’s a science to using treated seed and it’s important for farmers to properly steward treated seeds.

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Buffers in eastern MN

Gov. Dayton states support for tax relief for ag land converted to buffers

Governor Mark Dayton announced his support today for a bill that was a top priority for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) during the 2018 legislative session. The bipartisan legislation would provide farmers with a $50 per acre tax credit for farmland no longer in production due to the Minnesota Buffer Law, eliminating the financial penalty of continuing to impose property taxes at the highest rates on farm land that is converted to buffers.

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New service brings livestock to farmers for grazing opportunities

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Providing low-cost feed for the cattle while enriching soil, grazing is one of the five principles of crop land soil health. But for farmers who have the right operation to utilize grazing, just finding livestock producers who are willing and able to transport their herds can be tricky.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Cropland Grazing Exchange has just marked its first year of helping approximately 100 livestock farmers and row crop farmers make that connection by serving as matchmaker between the two.

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MCGA requests Gov. Dayton immediately release the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, issues membership call to action

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) submitted a letter to Governor Mark Dayton this morning advocating for the immediate release of both the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule and detailed GIS maps, followed by a 90-day comment period.

MCGA President Kirby Hettver testified in front of the Minnesota House Agriculture Policy Committee this morning and reiterated these requests, as well as Minnesota corn farmers’ continued commitment to sustainability and best management practices. Coinciding with MCGA’s letter to the Governor and President Hettver’s testimony earlier today,

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Video tells the story of farmers as water quality producers

(Soil scientist Kevin Kuehner checks the edge-of-field monitoring equipment at a site near Bridge Creek in Southeastern Minnesota.)

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

A newly released video (see below) shows the efforts by farmers to implement practices that prevent soil and nutrient loss in three small watersheds of southeastern Minnesota’s Root River. The ultimate goal over the decade-plus effort by farmers in the watershed is enhancing the water quality of nearby streams.

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MDA unveils an updated map and timeline for the Nitrogen Rule

Governor Mark Dayton and Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson held a press conference Tuesday outlining changes the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) intends to make to the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. News from the meeting includes an updated map and updated timeline.

The updated map, which you can see here, has been significantly revised with less coverage of areas identified as vulnerable to fall application. For example, northwestern Minnesota was provided a climate exemption due to the low soil temperatures when fall nitrogen would normally be applied in the region.

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State’s corn growers invest in nitrogen management

Minnesota’s corn growers are investing in research and education to reduce nitrate loss as part of their mission to become the most environmentally responsible and sustainable corn farmers in the nation. Since 2014, corn farmers have invested nearly $6 million of their own funds through the corn check-off in education and research that improves nitrogen management strategies.

Through farmers’ corn check-off investment, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is working with leading researchers to develop best management practices that protect Minnesota’s drinking water while maintaining productive farm operations.

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Finding the ‘just right’ volume of cover crop growth

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

How can farmers get the maximum benefit from cover crops in a corn-soybean operation? One scientist tackled the topic at the Fourth Annual Minnesota Nitrogen Management Conference, held recently in St. Cloud.

Matt Ruark, an associate professor in soil fertility and nutrient management at the University of Wisconsin, has been looking at a number of cover crop species, including winter rye, spring barley and various clovers.

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