Category: Conservation

Farmfest nitrate screening helps farmers address water quality

Bring your water samples from wells, ditches, streams or tile outlets to Farmfest for free nitrate screening, courtesy of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center (MAWRC).

The screening is completely confidential and takes about 20 minutes. You can drop off your sample at the MAWRC location inside of the AURI tent, check out Farmfest, then pick up your results anytime.

“There’s a lot of attention being paid to nitrates in groundwater and surface waters,”

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Here are details on the newly passed buffer amendment

 

As the Minnesota legislative session dragged into late into Sunday night and early Monday morning, the Environment and Agriculture Committee again adopted language on the buffer issue. The amendment, basically, calls for the enforcement of existing buffer laws on a timeline for adoption and includes a fine for noncompliance.

The final omnibus Environment/Ag bill is awaiting final approval by the House and Senate, then goes to the Governor’s office for signature.

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From today's Star Tribune: Enough with all of this Minnesota farmer-bashing

Noah Hultgren, a fourth-generation family farmer in Raymond, Minn., and First Vice President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, has an op-ed in today’s Star Tribune that covers what corn farmers are doing to address water quality concerns.

Hultgren also shares his perspective Gov. Dayton’s buffer strip proposal and tackles “what seems to be a coordinated effort to label farmers as polluters who are doing nothing to address water-quality concerns.”

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

We don’t need more shouting.

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  • The study’s authors mainly used data from an outdated U.S.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