Category: Conservation

Legislative Update: Drones, ethanol, transportation and more

Written by Anna Boroff, Senior Policy Director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA)

It sounds like Minnesota farmers are making great progress this planting season. As of last week, 45 percent of the state’s corn crop was in the ground, two weeks ahead of the five-year average.

As you continue making progress, we want to make sure you’re staying up to date on the latest agriculture legislative and policy happenings in Washington D.C.

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Attention farmers: MCGA is offering FREE nitrate screening to help you address water quality

Sam P3The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is giving farmers the opportunity to have their well, ditch, stream and tile outlet water tested for nitrates. And it’s completely free.

UPDATE: We’ve added two additional screening opportunities in Crookston and Lamberton. See the updated schedule below.

The screening is completely confidential and takes about 20 minutes. Nitrate testing is an easy way for farmers to get a better idea about water conditions and nutrient loss on their own farms.

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Legislative update: What's happening in St. Paul and Washington D.C. while farmers are planting?

Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Senior Public Policy Director.

It sounds like planting progress is moving full speed ahead out in farm country. In St. Paul, the legislative session also continues churning forward. Here is a quick farm-focused legislative update to peruse while you’re in the tractor planting.

Buffer bill passes
Last week the House voted to pass a bill that clarifies several items in the buffer bill passed last year.

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Grant helps farmers use innovative irrigation system to reduce nutrient loss

MCGA.2013-0089Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

When Chad Davison, 34, came home to the farm from a business career at Target Corporation he brought with him a love of logistics and technological innovation — he had most recently managed the shelf inventory of brand name coffee at all the Targets in North America.

His dad made the family farm run on hard-won agronomic know-how.

Where the two overlapped was in a love of land stewardship and the rewards precision agriculture can offer — especially in a 4,500 acre row-crop farm in the Red River Valley town of Tintah,

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Through research, farmer hopes to find the ‘Goldilock’s rate’ of nitrogen fertilizer

Patsche-1370Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Root River watershed in southeast Minnesota, farmer Wayne Dewall has always been conscious of conservation and land stewardship.

That’s why he jumped at the chance six years ago to take part in the innovative Root River Field To Stream Partnership. For six years now, the program has monitored the loss of soil and nutrients from farm fields.

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Minnesota farmer works to plant cover crops while side-dressing nitrogen fertilizer

Spend a few minutes visiting with Keith Hartmann, a 27-year-old, fourth-generation family farmer in Gibbon, Minn., and his passion for agriculture and clean water quickly becomes apparent. Hartmann is using that passion to move forward on a unique project that he hopes will make cover crops a more realistic option for farmers in Minnesota’s chilly climate.

By mid-June, Hartmann plans to have a piece of equipment ready that will plant cover crops while side-dressing nitrogen fertilizer,

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Minnesota Corn Growers announce Conservation Innovation Grant recipients

MNcorn_PMSWith a boost from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) new Conservation Innovation Grant program, five farmers will be implementing a new conservation practice to better manage nitrogen fertilizer and protect water quality on their farms this growing season. Another Minnesota farmer is receiving funding to host a field day and showcase existing conservation efforts to other area farmers.

A total of $39,000 was awarded to help farmers test or develop an innovative or best practice in the following areas:

  • Nitrate loss reduction
  • Improved nitrogen management practices for Minnesota soils
  • Maintaining or improving water quality,

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Minnesota Corn Growers, U of M Bee Lab offer tips on making your farm more pollinator-friendly

Bee_Mark_MacLennan_MJM_0977-(ZF-4407-50628-1-001)As farmers take to the fields for spring planting, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and the University of Minnesota Bee Lab are reminding farmers to keep their farms as pollinator-friendly as possible.

“By taking some simple precautions, farmers can continue making a big difference in protecting pollinating insects like bees and butterflies,” said Noah Hultgren, a farmer in Raymond, Minn., and President of MCGA.

Both MCGA and the Bee Lab recommend the following while planting:

  • Minimize dust.

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Legislative update: Buffers, budgets, BWSR and more

Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Senior Public Policy Director

Before getting into this week’s legislative update, I’d like to personally thank all the legislators, farmer-leaders, agency staff and other leaders who attended the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) Legislative Reception on April 6. It was great to connect with so many legislators, hear from several commissioners and talk food and farming with other leaders from throughout Minnesota.

Pictures and details from the event can be seen here.

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More than 350 farmers became "Nitrogen Smart" this spring

A series of “Nitrogen Smart” sessions throughout Minnesota drew more than 350 farmers to learn more about a topic important to both farmers and non-farmers: managing nitrogen fertilizer more efficiently.

“Nitrogen is a hot topic right now,” said Brad Carlson, a University of Minnesota Extension educator who presented at each of the eight “Nitrogen Smart” sessions. “It was great to see so many farmers come out and participate. If you couldn’t attend,

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