Category: Conservation

Food and Farming Panel Sparks Debate, Shows Complexity of Agriculture Issues

What happens when a college in the heart of Minnesota’s Iron Range holds a panel discussion on food, farming and agriculture policy?

I was curious, so I made the drive up to Itasca Community College (ICC) in Grand Rapids to listen to a panel titled “The Present and Future of Agriculture: The Benefits and Costs of Current Agricultural Policy.”

It began as a typical college campus panel discussion. Facts were recited.

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Farm Tour Highlights Nitrate Reduction Strategies

Two research locations in the coarse-textured soils of Central Minnesota highlight the sensitivity of the region to groundwater impacts, but also show how eager farmers are to come up with solutions that reduce the presence of nitrate-nitrogen below very stringent levels.

The Clean Water Fund generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment sales tax approved by Minnesota voters presents a number of opportunities to protect or remediate groundwater resources impacted by surface runoff.

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Minnesota Farmers are top users of USDA Conservation Program

More farmers in Minnesota than any other state have used a voluntary USDA program that aims to improve, maintain and expand on-farm conservation practices.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and encourages farmers to take measurable steps to improve soil, water quality, wildlife habitat and other conservation efforts.

Since the CSP program began in 2009, nearly 2 million acres of Minnesota farmland has been enrolled.

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Green Star Farms Initiative: Benchmarking and Accelerating On-Farm Best Management Practices

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The land that brothers Nathan and Sean Collins farm in Murdock, Minn., has been in production for 150 years. They are the fourth generation of farmers in the Collins family.

According to Nathan, the thriving of that land — as healthy and productive as its ever been — and the thriving of the Collins family goes hand in hand.

That’s why he jumped at the opportunity to join the Green Star Farms Initiative,

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Corn Views: Back off the Renewable Fuels Standard, it’s working

If I told you there was a piece of legislation that has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil by 20 percent, supports 400,000 jobs, adds $43 billion to our gross domestic product, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 percent and saves the typical motorist $1,200 per year, would you call for that legislation to be scaled back or repealed?

It sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? Why would anyone want to repeal a piece of legislation that is doing all of those things?

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Central Minnesota Corn Farmer up for Conservation Award

Want an example of on-farm conservation practices in action? Look no further than Jon Hansmeier.

The list of conservation practices that Hansmeier has implemented on 660 acres of cropland in a corn/soybean rotation on his farm in Foley is impressive. Examples include:

  • Using mulch tillage on 146 acres of cropland , keeping at least one-third of the soil surface covered with crop residue.
  • Erosion control practices using a combination of fill material,

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Corn Links: A Roundup of Corn News and Information From Around the Web

Who needs Google when you have the Minnesota CORNerstone blog? Every now and then we’ll bring you Corn Links, a collection of the latest corn and farming-related news, information, links and commentary from around the web.

  • Kudos to Star Tribune outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson, who has taken shots at farmers over the years, for keeping an open mind and coming away impressed after a visit to John Peterson’s corn and soybean farm in North Branch.

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Minnesota Gophers Farm Family of the Game goes to 5th Generation Dodge County Farmers

There’s a shade tree on Roger Toquam’s farm that sometimes doubles as a board room. On a hot day last week, the “board room” was packed for a very important meeting.

Roger, two of his three sons, and Roger’s father – three generations of Toquams — were gathered to talk farming. They covered strategies for improving their corn, soybean and contract hog finishing farm, and also reflected a little on how fortunate they all are to be a part of such a special family “business.”

“I thought to myself,

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Ag Water Quality Experts Tour Minnesota Discovery Farms Network

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Farmers want to know the volume of nutrients and sediment leaving their land. Eleven such producers across the state of Minnesota take part in Minnesota Discovery Farms Network, and three of these farms hosted a tour of agricultural water quality experts on Aug. 13-15 from states that have each developed their own Discovery Farms network.

Warren Formo, director of Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center,

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Klobuchar and Grassley Letter asks for Investigation of Big Oil

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter this week asking the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate possible anti-competitive practices by oil companies that may be limiting consumer access to renewable fuels like ethanol.

“By forcing a franchisee to carry premium gasoline as a condition of carrying regular gas, the oil company may be using its economic power over its franchisee to effect a tying arrangement in violation of the Sherman Act,” the two senators wrote in the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FTC Chairwoman Edit Ramirez .

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