Category: Policy

2017 Minnesota Session

Legislative Update: Important bills move to the floor

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

It was a flurry of activity this week in St. Paul as legislators put in long hours to assemble supplemental finance bills for committees with jurisdiction over different parts of the state budget.

The finance bills being put forward by different committees also contain various changes to existing law and new policy proposals. Since the Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton finalized a two-year state budget during the 2017 legislative session,

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Buffers in eastern MN

Gov. Dayton states support for tax relief for ag land converted to buffers

Governor Mark Dayton announced his support today for a bill that was a top priority for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) during the 2018 legislative session. The bipartisan legislation would provide farmers with a $50 per acre tax credit for farmland no longer in production due to the Minnesota Buffer Law, eliminating the financial penalty of continuing to impose property taxes at the highest rates on farm land that is converted to buffers.

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MDA responds to MCGA’s call for the release of the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule

Last month, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) sent a letter to Governor Mark Dayton requesting the immediate release of both the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule and detailed GIS maps, followed by a 90-day comment period. Recently, MCGA received an official response to its requests from Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson.

In the letter, Commissioner Frederickson stated the draft Nitrogen Rule has not yet been released because the language and accompanying Statement of Need and Reasonableness are still being drafted,

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The historical timeline of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule

The Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule has become a hotly debated topic during the 2018 legislative session. With that, there have been many inaccurate reports circling regarding the draft Rule, particularly how this draft Rule came to be. Below is a detailed timeline of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, which dates back to 1989.

1989

  • Groundwater Protection Act is passed by Minnesota Legislature and signed into law. Authority for the Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan and the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule is provided through the passing of the Groundwater Protection Act.

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Candidates to represent Minnesota’s 1st district visit corn farms

(Sen. Carla Nelson (left) visited the family farm of Brennen Toquam last week as part of MCGA candidate outreach)

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is hosting 2018 candidates for Minnesota’s 1st congressional district on family farms in southern Minnesota. Last week, candidates from both parties visited with MCGA grower leaders in an effort to build a greater understanding of modern farm practices and discuss the federal issues impacting Minnesota’s corn growers.

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Legislative Update: Buffer law, Farm Bill and tax reform have a busy week

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

The Minnesota Legislature returned from the Easter/Passover break this week and action picked right back up with only six weeks left in the regular session and a lot of work left to accomplish. It was a very busy week for agriculture—not only in St. Paul, but also Washington D.C. There is a lot to cover, so I will get right to it.

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Buffer near Montevideo, MN

Following the ag community’s response, BWSR says proposed buffer penalties a mistake

Last week the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) released a proposed amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order (APO) plan for Minnesota Buffer Law implementation that would allow counties and watershed districts to assess penalties up to $500 per linear foot out of compliance with the law. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association released a statement calling the proposed amendment beyond excessive and highly unreasonable.

To follow-up its statement, MCGA issued a letter to BWSR Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor Tom Gile that outlined major concerns with both the amendment and the procedure through which the amendment was proposed.

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Buffer Alternative Practices

MCGA: Proposed buffer law penalties for noncompliance are beyond excessive

The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) introduced a proposed amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order plan for Buffer Law implementation that would allow counties and watershed districts to assess penalties based on linear feet of non-compliant water body frontage. Posted on the BWSR website on April 2, comments are being requested on the proposed amendment through April 16.

Counties and watershed districts charged with enforcement of the Buffer Law would be able to choose if they would adopt this amended option for the Administrative Penalty Order.

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MN State Capitol

Legislative Update: Lawmakers take action on key bills before break

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

The Minnesota Legislature starts a 10-day Easter/Passover break today and will be back in session on Monday, April 9. The last couple of weeks have been busy in St. Paul as lawmakers worked to meet policy committee deadlines before heading back to their districts for the break. Here is a quick recap of where things stand on Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) legislative priorities and other policies important to agriculture.

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MN Capitol

Legislative Update: MCGA’s day at the capitol, Nitrogen Rule movement and more

It is hard to believe we are wrapping up the fourth week of the Minnesota Legislative Session and action in St. Paul has really heated up. Next week, March 22, is the first committee deadline, which are set to narrow the list of bills to be considered by the legislature during the session.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) had a busy week advocating on behalf of our members. We had our annual day at the capitol and provided testimony before the House Agriculture Policy committee on the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

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