Category: Conservation

Proud Minnesota farm family to be honored during Gophers football season-opener

Over multiple generations, the Mackenthun family has strongly supported the University of Minnesota and championed Minnesota agriculture.

When the Minnesota Gophers football team opens its season against the TCU Horned Frogs on Thursday night, the Mackenthuns will be honored as the Minnesota Corn Growers Farm Family of the Game.

Merlin Mackenthun and his wife, Jan, met at the University of Minnesota. Merlin graduated in 1972 with a double degree in Agriculture Engineering Technology and Agriculture Economics.

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MN Corn Growers work to improve pollinator habitat

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and it’s more than 7,000 members made a commitment to improving pollinator habitat over the last year. Here is a quick update on those activities:

  • About 4,000 pollinator-friendly wildflower seed mixes have been distributed by MCGA at events attended by both farmers and non-farmers. The free seed-mix packets are an easy way to raise awareness about the importance of pollinator habitat, and help people take action on their own property to add habitat and make an actual difference.

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“Conservation in Action” tour visits MCGA President's family farm

Four buses filled with national policymakers and conservation leaders rolled onto the Northfield family farm of Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Bruce Peterson on Aug. 12 as part of the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) “Conservation in Action Tour.”

Peterson’s farm was one of five stops on a tour of Southeastern Minnesota that highlighted the many conservation efforts of Minnesota farmers. The group learned more about what Peterson and his family do on their farm to protect soil health,

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These MN family farmers are proud to call themselves "active environmentalists"

It’s rare that Jeffrey and Karen Larson shut down their combine in the middle of harvest season. But when their landlord’s daughter and family called and asked if her and a few friends from the Twin Cities could come over for a tour of the Larson’s farm a few years ago, the Larsons took a short break from the fields and gave the group a taste of what farming in Minnesota is all about.

“We’re going to take the time,

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6,000 feet of buffers protect water quality on this Faribault county family farm

On their family farm in Wells, Minn., Mark and Lea Nowak have over 6,000 feet of buffer strips along a large county drainage ditch that enters Walnut Lake and eventually flows into the Blue Earth River before ending up in the Minnesota River.

The buffers are 33 feet wide, twice as long as what the county recommended when they were installed in 2008.

“It’s nice to walk along and see that it’s keeping sediments and runoff out of the water,” Mark said.

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This week showed why it's important for farmers to tell their own story

We’ve spent the past week here at highlighting some of the common, everyday conservation efforts of Minnesota’s corn farmers.

To many farmers, conservation practices like buffer strips, grass waterways or setting aside wildlife habitat is part of everyday life on the farm. But non-farmers might not be familiar with such practices and how farmers implement them.

That’s why it’s important for farmers to tell their own story, with an emphasis on conservation efforts.

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Field-to-Stream Partnership helps farmers improve water quality in Southeast MN

A collaboration among farmers, farm groups, private industry, conservation organizations, researchers and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is gathering on-farm data to help farmers better protect water quality in Southeastern Minnesota.

The Root River Field-to-Stream Partnership started in 2009 and uses innovative equipment and technology to monitor sediment and nutrient runoff from farm fields. The real-world, on-farm runoff data will help farmers better understand what is leaving their fields and entering nearby waterways so they can implement conservation practices to address the issue.

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Amazing drone footage of a MN farmer protecting water quality

Dan Erickson, a third-generation farmer near Alden in Southern Minnesota, joined a growing number of corn farmers this year who side-dress nitrogen.

Nitrogen, aka fertilizer, is needed to provide nutrients that grow corn — Minnesota’s most bountiful crop that produces food, feed, fiber and fuel for the entire world. Technological advancements, combined with years of farmer-funded research, now make it possible for corn farmers to apply nitrogen at different times during the growing season.

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Toquam family carries on conservation and farming tradition

The Toquam family’s history of on-farm conservation efforts started back in the 1930s, when Clifford Toquam planted a line of arbor vitae trees three-eighths of a mile long to protect his fields from wind erosion.

Today, Roger Toquam and his family are the fourth generation to carry on that farming and conservation tradition.

“There’s something bred in a farmer about knowing what’s the right thing to do,” Roger said. “It bothers us if we see soil erosion or runoff happening.

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Make your voice heard: Ask Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken to stop WOTUS

Unless farmers, landowners and other concerned citizens act now, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is set to go into effect on Aug. 28.

As most readers know, the new WOTUS rule dramatically expands the definition of what constitutes a water of the United States under the federal Clean Water Act. Ditches, ponds and low areas of a field that only contain moisture for a few days out of the year could be subject to permit requirements under the Clean Water Act if WOTUS is implemented.

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