Category: Conservation

MCGA Radio: USDA's Rural Energy for America Program

On this week’s MCGA Radio, USDA Rural Development state director Colleen Landkamer shared details on the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which provides funding to help farmers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Since 2009, 862 small business and farmers in Minnesota have used $33 million in REAP loan guarantees and grants to install solar panels, wind turbines, energy-efficient refrigeration, geothermal heating systems,

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Everything you ever wanted to know about buffer strips

At a DNR roundtable event in January, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton told the audience that he would ask the legislature to require a 50-foot buffer along all Minnesota waterways. Details of the governor’s proposal have not been revealed and legislation has yet to be introduced.

Nonetheless, the proposal has generated a lot of discussion. That discussion will likely pick up in the coming weeks if legislation is actually introduced to implement the governor’s 50-foot buffer proposal.

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New research facility at U of M will help corn farmers adapt to changing climate

Corn farmers will never win their battle with Mother Nature, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to make the fight a little less one-sided.

A new research facility at the University of Minnesota supported by Minnesota corn farmers through their corn check-off is seeking to help farmers better understand how climate change is affecting corn production and its impact on the environment.

One of the challenges of corn farming —

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Statement from MCGA President Bruce Peterson on Gov. Dayton’s planned buffer proposal

The following is a statement from Bruce Peterson, a farmer in Northfield and President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, on Gov. Dayton’s plan to propose 50-feet of buffer strips along all Minnesota waterways:

“By investing $4 million annually in third-party research through institutions like the University of Minnesota, and by supporting initiatives such as Discovery Farms, Minnesota corn farmers have taken the lead on issues related to agricultural water quality and wildlife habitat.

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With $9 million from USDA, Water Quality Certification goes statewide

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Twenty-eight farmers signed up for and helped tweak Minnesota’s Ag Water Quality Certification program during its pilot phase. Now the program will be open to farmers in every watershed in Minnesota, thanks to a $9 million dollar grant from the USDA.

Two farm families who took part in the pilot helped announce the expanded program on Wednesday at the Orville Freeman building in Saint Paul — the headquarters of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).

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Minnesota Crop Nutrient Management Conference set for Feb. 9

Last year, a record crowd of more than 450 farmers, crop consultants and agriculture professionals attended the Minnesota Crop Nutrient Management Conference.

Organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year when the Crop Nutrient Management Conference kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on on Monday, Feb. 9, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato.

“It’s become a pretty important place to share the latest research on nutrient management,”

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Discovery Farms Profile: Putting nutrients where crops can use them

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Brian and Cindy Herbst figure that 15 percent of their farm fields consistently yield about 275 bushels of corn per acre.

These top performing parcels are no accident. The Herbsts identified them using grid soil sampling and careful yield monitoring. Add the “pure gold” of manure from their hog finishing operation and the soil in these spots reaches its true potential as a cornucopia.

“We tend to under apply (manure) for the crop needs and then we can come back and side dress our nitrogen or do whatever it takes to bring it up to the right levels.

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Setting the record straight about ethanol and air quality

There’s a new study from the University of Minnesota making the rounds that claims ethanol may be worse for air quality than gasoline. The study is based on flawed models and disingenuous assumptions about ethanol production vs. oil production. Nonetheless, it’s generating a decent amount of media coverage.

The study’s authors cherry-pick models and adjust methodologies until they conform to what appear to be anti-ethanol viewpoints. Their work differs greatly from the work done by USDA,

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MCGA Radio: Warren Formo talks Discovery Farms Minnesota

On this week’s Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) Radio, Warren Formo from the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center provides an update on Discovery Farms Minnesota.

Formo also highlights a series of feature stories we’re doing here at MinnesotaCornerstone.com to profile the farmers who participate in Discovery Farms Minnesota.

Listen to Formo’s interview below, then catch up on the feature stories here, here and here.

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