Category: Conservation

Corn Views: Water quality summit should focus on collaboration

by Noah Hultgren, Minnesota Corn Growers Association President

Governor Mark Dayton recently called for a statewide water quality summit to take place sometime in early 2016. Since agriculture is likely to be a focus of the summit, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the farmer-driven efforts to improve our state’s water quality, and share what I hope to see take place at the summit from a farmer’s perspective.

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Involve farmers in the water quality conversation

Doug Albin

by Doug Albin

As a third-generation family farmer, I’ve been paying attention to agriculture water quality issues for a long time.

On my farm, like many other Minnesota farmers, I use common conservation practices like grass waterways and buffers. I was also one of the first farmers in Minnesota to install a saturated buffer, which protects waterways from nitrogen fertilizer and other nutrients that could run off my fields during heavy rains.

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Give your soil breathing room with shallow tillage

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Conventional tillage has worked well in the Upper Midwest to address moderately excessive levels of early spring moisture, and to knock back weed pressure.

The problem is that tillage also destroys soil structure.  Soil structure builds biological activity and favors plant growth, in turn building up the soil structure even more. That was the message experts gave to hundreds of farmers at the Conservation Tillage Conference held in Willmar in mid-December.

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Growers of the ‘third crop’ share results

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Lakefield farmers Jerry and Nancy Ackermann were among the presenters at a gathering in Okabena in mid-November, in which three dozen farmers from Jackson and Nobles county met to compare results, trade experiences and learn ways to improve performance with cover crops.

Jerry and Nancy are members of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

The Ackermanns have increased the use of covers between the rows of their corn and soybeans for the past six years.

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Technology and social investment key factors in agriculture water quality

Taking advantage of — and keeping pace with — rapidly evolving technology will be a key factor in the ongoing effort to improve the balance of agricultural production and environmental stewardship. That was one of several insights provided by a panel of experts on farming and water quality that included Minnesota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Dr. Adam Birr at last week’s annual Agri-Growth Conference in Minneapolis.

“Maybe technology has outpaced our knowledge a little bit,”

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Minnesota corn farmers: Tell Klobuchar and Franken to stop WOTUS now!

KlobFrankThe U.S. Senate plans to vote on S. 1140 and possibly the Congressional Review Act concerning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corp of Engineers’ Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule next week.

If passed, this would force EPA and the Corps to withdraw its damaging WOTUS rule.

Minnesota corn farmers: It’s time to make your voices heard. Tell Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken to vote YES on S.

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MCGA student Agvocate highlights his family's efforts to protect water quality

Written by Sam Peterson

Water quality has become an increasingly heated issue surrounding agriculture in the last few years. On my family’s farm in Northfield, Minn., it has been a hot topic since I was born. My family is very concerned with the quality of the land we farm and that includes the quality of the water below and on the surface. We use many practices to help conserve the quality of water including buffer strips,

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New interactive online map makes it easy to learn more about conservation efforts of Minnesota farmers

Have you ever wondered why farmers leave a wide strip of lush green grasses in certain sections of their corn fields? Do you hear the terms “no-till” or “ridge-till” and wonder what they mean? Would you like to see pictures of a real buffer strips instead of just reading about them in the news?

Or maybe you simply want to see some up-close and personal photos of on-farm conservation efforts in the Land of 10,000 Lakes?

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Fore! Minnesota farm family combines passion for agriculture, conservation and golf

On their family farm near Northfield, Mike and Kay Peterson raise corn, soybeans, hogs and…golf balls.

Yes, golf balls.

Since 1991, a public driving range occupies a low area of land that once was home to soybeans on the Peterson’s nearly 100-year-old third generation family farm. A ball dispenser spits out a small or large bucket of balls to any wannabe Jack Nicklaus who wishes to work on his or her swing.

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Minnesota corn farmer's CRP land buzzing with pollinator activity

When John Luepke turns off the engine on his 4-wheeler, he hears the steady buzz of pollinating bees on his farm near Courtland, Minn., in Nicollet County.

Luepke has enrolled a 20 acre section of his farm into USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which helps farmers plant species that improve environmental health on sensitive areas of land.  The colorful Blacked Eyed Susans and New England Astor flowers created a nearly perfect landscape for pollinating insects like bees.

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