Category: Sustainability

20 Minnesota corn farmers attend Corn Congress, make Hill visits in DC

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Coming from across the state, 20 grower-leaders from Minnesota’s corn organizations visited members of Congress, their key aides and other government officials to register their concern about the uncertainty created by current deliberations over changes to water quality regulations under consideration at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In particular, changes to the definition of ‘navigable waters’ to include ditches and even surface runoff from farm fields would mean EPA would have a direct impact on agriculture through new rules it could apply under the Clean Water Act.

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Waters of the United States rule is bad news for farmers

Written by Kirby Hettver

As a fifth-generation family farmer in Western, Minnesota, I’ve had to overcome many things. Flooded fields, droughts, unpredictable markets and buying and maintaining expensive machinery all help make farming a challenging profession.

I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. A farmer feels a lot of pride when he or she overcomes those challenges and harvests a bumper crop to help provide food, feed, fiber and fuel for a growing world population.

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EWG recycles a bunch of ethanol myths, calls it a "study"

What do you get when Big Oil and corporate activists team up to attack farmers and consumers?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its new (*ahem*), “study” bashing ethanol and corn farmers.

The (*cough*) “study” comes out just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to issue a final ruling on its proposal to slash the amount of homegrown ethanol blended into our fuel supply as called for in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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Making diesel engines more efficient with hydrous ethanol

Inside a square room at the University of Minnesota’s new T.E. Murphy Engine Research Laboratory in Minneapolis, Will Northrop is working to refine a cleaner and more efficient diesel engine.

With funding support from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and AURI, Northrop and his team at the U of M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are developing technology to use hydrous ethanol as the primary fuel in diesel engines.

When used in diesel engines,

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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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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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MCGA Launches “Minnesota Farm Team” Campaign to Highlight Conservation Practices

Minnesota Farm TeamWhat does corn farming, Elvis Presley, buffer strips and playing the accordion have in common? It’s all part of a new campaign launched by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) to highlight the conservation efforts of Minnesota corn farmers.

The campaign features 30-second radio commercials during Minnesota Twins games that profile a member of the “Minnesota Farm Team,” which is made up of corn farmers who have implemented a specific conservation practice on their farm to improve water quality,

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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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