Category: Sustainability

Minnesota Corn Growers Highlight Investments to Protect Surface and Groundwater

A new publication from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) highlights initiatives corn farmers have supported to protect surface and groundwaters from nitrogen loss. Initiatives include third-party research, innovative on-farm programs and people with an expertise in research and education.

The “Minnesota Corn Growers Association Nitrogen Initiatives” publication can be viewed here. Overall, MCGA invests about $2 million annually in projects that address corn production and water quality.

“Corn farmers grow the food,

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Stearns County farmers get details Minnesota's Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program

Farmers in the Middle Sauk River watershed district in Stearns County got a firsthand look at Minnesota’s new Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) during two open house events this week.

The Middle Sauk is one of four pilot areas selected to test and refine the voluntary program, which aims to increase on-farm conservation practices to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Farmers who become certified and maintain approved management practices are assured that their farms meet Minnesota’s water quality goals and standards for 10 years.

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Should voluntary water regulations for farmers be made mandatory?

Minnesota Public Radio asked visitors to its website this week if voluntary water regulations for farmers should be made mandatory. So far the response to the question in the comments section doesn’t appear to contain many farmer viewpoints.

If you farm, and you have an opinion on the topic, don’t be afraid to share your perspective. Perhaps you could let people know how Minnesota’s corn farmers use their own money through a voluntary check-off program to fund more than $4 million in new and ongoing research efforts annually,

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How center pivot irrigation helps my family’s farm

Central pivot irrigationBy Nick Peterson

As I have made my way around the state of Minnesota the past number of years through work, school, and recreational trips, I’ve realized my idea of Minnesota is quite a bit different than I grew up thinking. Growing up on a crop and livestock farm in Sherburne County, it is apparent that our way of farming is more in the minority than it is the majority.

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Energy Balance? The scale tips heavily in ethanol's favor

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The secret to ethanol’s phenomenal energy return — 2.34 BTUs out for every 1 BTU of fossil energy input — begins with the corn plant’s excellence as a solar capture medium, says Randall Doyal, CEO of Al-Corn Energy in Claremont, Minn.

“What people don’t understand is that we are not creating new energy when we make ethanol. We’re capturing solar energy,” Doyal said. “There are always people who want to tell you how great voltaics and other solar energy capture devices are,

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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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