Category: Sustainability

Setting the record straight on converting Minnesota wetlands to crops

A recent study from the University of Wisconsin – Madison claims that Minnesota converted more wetlands into farmland than any other state from 2008-12. Unfortunately, many media outlets reported the findings of this study without scrutinizing the study’s methodologies or questioning why it wasn’t peer-reviewed by fellow scientists instead of just an editor or editorial board.

If the UW-Madison study received the scrutiny it deserved, here’s what we would have learned:

  • The study’s authors mainly used data from an outdated U.S.

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5 takeaways from Gov. Dayton's public meetings on buffers

Governor Mark Dayton visited Worthington and Austin on Thursday to hear feedback from farmers and local leaders on his proposal to require 50-foot buffer strips along all Minnesota waterways.

About 400 people packed both meeting rooms to weigh in on the issue. If you weren’t able to attend, here are five takeaways from the meetings:

1. Farmers want partnership. Comment after comment from farmers and other stakeholders wondered why the governor didn’t invite farmers to the table to discuss possible solutions before revealing his buffer proposal at a pheasant summit in the Twin Cities in January.

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Gov. Dayton to host public meetings on buffer strip proposal

Gov. Mark Dayton will host public meetings on Thursday, April 2, in Worthington and Austin to discuss his buffer strip proposal.

If you’re a farmer and would like to make your voice heard on the governor’s proposal to require 50-foot buffers on all waterways, this is your chance.

Here are details for each meeting:

EVENT 1: WORTHINGTON

WHO:
Governor Mark Dayton
Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson
Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr
Local leaders
Area residents

WHAT:
Public meeting to discuss Governor Dayton’s proposed initiative to improve Minnesota water quality and animal habitat through the use of buffer strips

WHEN:
Thursday,

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Corn Views: Farmers are losing the public perception battle

Northfield farmer and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Bruce Peterson wrote a new “Corn Views” column this week that focused on Gov. Dayton’s proposed buffer strip legislation and the importance of farmers telling their own conservation story.

Peterson wrote that MCGA strongly supports the use of buffer strips, but opposes a portion of the governor’s legislation that calls for a one-size-fits-all 50-foot buffer requirement. Peterson writes:

Agricultural research shows that a one-size-fits all buffer solution is not the most effective or efficient strategy for improving water quality.

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Minnesota corn farmer replies to Star Tribune's "Big Ag" editorial on buffer strips

On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an editorial dismissing the conservation efforts of farmers by labeling farmers and the grassroots organizations they belong to as “Big Ag.”

The editorial was spurred by the opposition of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and other family farm organizations to Gov. Dayton’s proposal to mandate 50-foot buffer strips along all Minnesota waterways in farm country. This statement from MCGA President Bruce Peterson highlights why the organization opposes to the one-size-fits-all legislation.

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Statement from Northfield farmer and MCGA President Bruce Peterson on buffer strip legislation

The following is a statement from Bruce Peterson, a farmer in Northfield and President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, on legislation introduced this week that would require farmers to use 50-foot buffer strips along waterways:

“The Minnesota Corn Growers Association supports the use of buffers as one of the many best management practices farmers use to protect water quality. We also support existing buffer laws and their vigorous local enforcement,

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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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This week's ag update from the Minnesota state capitol

Written by Anna Boroff, MCGA Public Policy Director

Gov. Dayton’s proposed pay raises for his commissioners gobbled up most of the media coverage this week at the Minnesota state capitol (never change, Minnesota politics!). But there were still plenty of ag-related happenings, including a legislative water commission meeting, an agricultural sector meeting with the DNR and legislative visits involving Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) farmer-leaders.

Here is this week’s legislative recap:

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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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