Category: Conservation

Field day on July 17 takes comprehensive look at cover crop strategies

As part of its mission to make farming more productive and sustainable through soil health, the Soil Health Partnership is holding a field day Tuesday, July 17, in Buffalo Lake for an up-close look at cover crop strategies.

Hosted on the farm of Brian Ryberg, who is a Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Participant, the field day is titled “Growing Farm Returns through Soil Health.” From 1:30 p.m.

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The Innovation Grant Program returns for farmer-led, conservation-minded research

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) launched the third year of the Innovation Grant Program, investing in 12 farmer-led research projects focused on preventing nitrogen loss. Each accepted proposal focuses on innovative solutions to prevent the loss of nitrogen to ground and surface water, keeping the nutrient in the soil.

Working with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, MCGA announced the Innovation Grant Program in 2016 as part of its goal to make Minnesota corn farmers the most sustainable and environmentally responsible in the United States.

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Groundwater Protection Rule: What’s next?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule – previously referred to as the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule – on April 24, 2018. The Groundwater Protection Rule was formally published in the Minnesota State Register on April 30th, followed by an 80-day comment period.

The proposed Groundwater Protection Rule, the statement of need and reasonableness, appendixes for the statement of need and reasonableness and the notice of public hearings are listed on the MDA website here. 

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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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