Category: Conservation

Governor Dayton: October is Biofuels Month in Minnesota

What does trick-or-treating, leaves changing colors, the World Series, the start of the NHL season and Biofuels Month have in common? They’re all happening this October.

Governor Mark Dayton has declared October Biofuels Month in Minnesota. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the important role biofuels such as clean, renewable and homegrown ethanol play in building Minnesota’s economy and reducing our impact on the environment and the air we breathe.

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MDA wraps up N management plan listening sessions

Plan would create phased response to nitrates in groundwater, with a potential for regulatory action

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Six listening sessions have not turned up any earth-shaking critical comments about the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan, according to MDA officials. The comment period continues until Nov. 1, at which point Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson will consider the comments and publish the final version of the plan.

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University of Minnesota Extension Soil Compaction Field Day Videos

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association sponsored a Soil Compaction Field Day in conjunction with the University of Minnesota some time ago. The University’s Extension service recently created the below four videos from the field day:

Factors contributing to soil compaction

Soil structure: A natural defense against soil contraction

Managing vehicle traffic to reduce compaction

How to make your tires perform at their best

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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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