Category: Conservation

Setting the record straight on converting Minnesota wetlands to crops

A recent study from the University of Wisconsin – Madison claims that Minnesota converted more wetlands into farmland than any other state from 2008-12. Unfortunately, many media outlets reported the findings of this study without scrutinizing the study’s methodologies or questioning why it wasn’t peer-reviewed by fellow scientists instead of just an editor or editorial board.

If the UW-Madison study received the scrutiny it deserved, here’s what we would have learned:

  • The study’s authors mainly used data from an outdated U.S.

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5 takeaways from Gov. Dayton's public meetings on buffers

Governor Mark Dayton visited Worthington and Austin on Thursday to hear feedback from farmers and local leaders on his proposal to require 50-foot buffer strips along all Minnesota waterways.

About 400 people packed both meeting rooms to weigh in on the issue. If you weren’t able to attend, here are five takeaways from the meetings:

1. Farmers want partnership. Comment after comment from farmers and other stakeholders wondered why the governor didn’t invite farmers to the table to discuss possible solutions before revealing his buffer proposal at a pheasant summit in the Twin Cities in January.

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Gov. Dayton to host public meetings on buffer strip proposal

Gov. Mark Dayton will host public meetings on Thursday, April 2, in Worthington and Austin to discuss his buffer strip proposal.

If you’re a farmer and would like to make your voice heard on the governor’s proposal to require 50-foot buffers on all waterways, this is your chance.

Here are details for each meeting:

EVENT 1: WORTHINGTON

WHO:
Governor Mark Dayton
Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson
Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr
Local leaders
Area residents

WHAT:
Public meeting to discuss Governor Dayton’s proposed initiative to improve Minnesota water quality and animal habitat through the use of buffer strips

WHEN:
Thursday,

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Minnesota Corn welcomes new research director

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting innovative research with a focus on agriculture, environmental stewardship and biofuels, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) recently announced the hiring of Dr. Paul Meints to serve as the organization’s Research Director.

Meints will oversee a farmer-funded research portfolio totaling $4 million annually that supports projects at institutions such as the University of Minnesota, as well as on-farm initiatives such as Discovery Farms Minnesota.

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Corn Views: Farmers are losing the public perception battle

Northfield farmer and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Bruce Peterson wrote a new “Corn Views” column this week that focused on Gov. Dayton’s proposed buffer strip legislation and the importance of farmers telling their own conservation story.

Peterson wrote that MCGA strongly supports the use of buffer strips, but opposes a portion of the governor’s legislation that calls for a one-size-fits-all 50-foot buffer requirement. Peterson writes:

Agricultural research shows that a one-size-fits all buffer solution is not the most effective or efficient strategy for improving water quality.

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This week’s ag update from the Minnesota state capitol

Last week was a crazy week in St. Paul. There were numerous pieces of legislation introduced, advanced or debated that impact Minnesota’s corn farmers. Let’s get right to it:

Buffer strip legislation
For the sake of keeping this post as concise and easy to follow as possible, I’m going to focus on an update with where we’re currently at on buffer legislation. Stay tuned throughout the week for additional posts on the buffer issue that will include more opinion and commentary.

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This week’s ag update from the Minnesota state capitol

Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Public Policy Director

Last week was a busy one in the Minnesota legislature for ag water quality legislation. There’s more ag water quality legislation on tap this week in both of the House and the Senate.

All the ag-related happenings from last week and the ag-related happenings that might go down this week are included below in this week’s update. Also included is a call to action on important ag research legislation:

  • Look for Rep.

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How do water levels in the soil impact crops?

Minnesota cornWhat if farmers could input their farm data into a computer model that would help them decide whether to invest in drainage systems? Or how much fertilizer (enough, but not too much) to take maximum advantage of current soil moisture conditions?

A four-year research project funded by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council (MCR&PC) is looking at the interrelationship of drainage, soil type and farmer management decisions to the vigor of crop plants and,

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Building a better plastic from the ground up

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Petroleum-based microfibers — polyester and nylon — are washing out of our clothes, flowing right through wastewater treatment plants and on into the Great Lakes. These fibers end up in the bodies of fish, and all the creatures who eat the fish. Plastic micro pellets from face cleansers and lotions share a similar fate.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Prof. Marc Hillmyer,

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Crop farmers and consultants delve into nutrient science

 

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Bob Hoeft was a kid on the farm in David City, Nebraska, when Nitrogen fertilizer first got to be a big thing in American agriculture. That was the mid-1950s.

“The biggest change in nutrient management since then is that, now, we use science,” said Hoeft, a professor of agronomy at the University of Illinois. “Back then we (farmers) weren’t concerned with the science.

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