Category: Sustainability

Never read the comments (especially when the topic is ethanol)

Those who venture into the comments section of a newspaper website rarely emerge unscathed. Newspaper comments sections are a jungle of misinformation, nastiness, name-calling and anonymous people behind a keyboard who know very little and pretend (often angrily) that they know a lot.

All of that is ratcheted up by a factor of 10 when you wade into the comments section of a story about ethanol. There’s a reason we should all live by the following motto: Never read the comments.

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Helping farmers navigate the latest conservation-related reports, programs, strategies and initiatives

FarmKeeping up with the latest reports, studies, regulations, programs and initiatives related to conservation can sometimes make a farmer’s head spin.

Over the last couple of months, several reports have been released and strategies proposed by various agencies and organizations that aim to improve Minnesota’s water quality and enhance on-farm conservation efforts. These reports total almost 1,000 pages, span dozens of websites, involve multiple organizations and encompass several government programs and non-governmental initiatives.

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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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MCGA Elects Goodhue County Farmer Ryan Buck President for 2013-14

Ryan Buck is the new president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). Buck, a corn and soybean farmer in Goodhue County, will succeed current president Tom Haag on Oct. 1, 2013 and serve a one-year term.

The MCGA board also elected Bruce Peterson (Northfield) as vice president, Noah Hultgren (Raymond) as treasurer and re-elected Jean Knackmuhs (Walnut Grove) to a second term as board secretary.

“Farmers have an opportunity to take the lead on issues like water quality,

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Corn Links: Farm Bill, Chipotle and the Chesapeake Bay

The farm bill is still going nowhere, Chipotle gets called out by Funny or Die and a judge upholds a ruling on the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load issue. More details below in this Friday’s Corn Links:

Farm bill still stuck
If congress fails to pass a farm bill by Oct. 1, conservation programs will take a hit. According to Andrew McElwaine of the American Farmland Trust, conservation compliance has saved more than 295 million tons of soil annually and protected more than 3 million acres of wetlands.

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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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Gophers Football Farm Family of the Game: The Pace Family from Hanska, Minn.

As long as he can remember, Bruce Pace wanted to be a farmer.

He belonged to 4-H and FFA growing up and showed hogs at the state fair with his brother. By seventh grade, he was actively farming with his father and got into crop farming after high school.

Today, Bruce grows 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans, runs a custom hog feeding facility and oversees a Pioneer seed dealership. The farm,

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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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