Category: Conservation

A quick update on farming, buffer strips and the Minnesota Shoreland Rule

A recent story in the Star Tribune questioned whether a large number of farmers in Southern Minnesota are in violation of the law for growing crops near rivers and streams. Despite what the story implied, state regulations on buffer strips are not absolute.

The Minnesota Shoreland Rule requires a 50-foot buffer strip along all lakes greater than 25 acres and, essentially, all permanent streams. However, farming is permitted and buffer strips are not required if 1) the farmer is operating under an approved conservation plan from USDA’s Natural Resource &

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A quick update on DNR irrigation permits

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) remains engaged with lawmakers and agencies about issues surrounding farming and water sources. As fewer people are elected to office with an agriculture background, it’s important that corn farmers continue to have a seat at the table as regulations are debated and laws are introduced that impact Minnesota’s farms.

Recently, farmers have expressed concerns about irrigation issues, specifically the irrigation permitting process with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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Talking fast and planting straight

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association launched its “Minnesota Farm Team” campaign last week to highlight how corn farmers take care of our land, water and soil. MinnesotaCornerstone.com will profile a different member of the Farm Team every day this week.

To Joe Maidl, a nice, straight crop row is more than an aesthetic satisfaction — it saves time, money, fuel and lowers farming’s carbon footprint.

Maidl farms in Lafayette: “It’s the middle or the south central or what you might call the belly button of the state,”

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The farmer and the opera singer

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association launched its “Minnesota Farm Team” campaign last week to highlight how corn farmers take care of our land, water and soil. MinnesotaCornerstone.com will profile a different member of the Farm Team every day this week.

Gary Overgaard’s seed customers know about his passion for farming. They know he’s into technology that makes farming more productive and more sustainable. Not all of them know he’s married to an opera singer.

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The “King” of buffer strips

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association launched its “Minnesota Farm Team” campaign last week to highlight how corn farmers take care of our land, water and soil. MinnesotaCornerstone.com will profile a different member of the Farm Team every day this week.

Bill Brown and his family were named the Watonwan County Farm Family of the Year in 2013 by the University of Minnesota. After talking farming with Bill for just a few minutes,

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Out of thin air: Using wind energy to make fertilizer

Did you know it’s possible to use wind energy to make fertilizer? And did you know that it’s being done right here in Minnesota, at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research & Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris?

I didn’t know any of this, but was curious to learn more, so I visited the WCROC to a get a firsthand look at this innovative project. Mike Reese, WCROC’s director of renewable energy,

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Four years later, Discovery Farms Minnesota is going strong

In just four short years, Minnesota Discovery Farms has come a long way.

“The program has really taken off. We’ve established a working network from the southeast corner of Minnesota all the way up to the far northwest,” said Warren Formo, executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center.

Discovery Farms is a farmer-led effort to gather field scale water quality information from different types of farming systems in landscapes throughout Minnesota.

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Minnesota Corn Growers Highlight Investments to Protect Surface and Groundwater

A new publication from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) highlights initiatives corn farmers have supported to protect surface and groundwaters from nitrogen loss. Initiatives include third-party research, innovative on-farm programs and people with an expertise in research and education.

The “Minnesota Corn Growers Association Nitrogen Initiatives” publication can be viewed here. Overall, MCGA invests about $2 million annually in projects that address corn production and water quality.

“Corn farmers grow the food,

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What's up with EPA and the Renewable Fuel Standard?

It’s been two months since the public comment period ended on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and drastically reduce the amount of the homegrown ethanol blended in our fuel.

Over 7,000 Minnesota corn farmers signed letters telling EPA to not mess with the RFS. EPA still hasn’t decided if it will keep the proposed cuts, scale them back, or ditch them altogether.

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Stearns County farmers get details Minnesota's Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program

Farmers in the Middle Sauk River watershed district in Stearns County got a firsthand look at Minnesota’s new Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) during two open house events this week.

The Middle Sauk is one of four pilot areas selected to test and refine the voluntary program, which aims to increase on-farm conservation practices to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farmers who become certified and maintain approved management practices are assured that their farms meet Minnesota’s water quality goals and standards for 10 years.

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