Category: Conservation

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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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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