Category: Sustainability

Farmers unite on Twitter to support NAFTA

Farmers nationwide united on Twitter yesterday to make their voices heard on the importance of NAFTA to agriculture. The grassroots advocacy campaign included farmers of all backgrounds, legislators and multiple ag and business organizations proclaiming the economic impact of the free-trade agreement using the #Farmers4NAFTA hashtag.

Farmers were encouraged to tweet positive messages about NAFTA and the benefits it has brought to American farms. Participants cited statistics that show the growth of exports to Canada and Mexico under NAFTA,

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New tillage guide says less is more

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The new Upper Midwest Tillage Guide provides Minnesota and North Dakota farmers with a resource for considering the right amount of tillage for their operation and which implements will help the farmer achieve new tillage goals.

The guide looks at the history of tillage before going into the benefits of reduced tillage and how to employ these strategies. Its authors are Jodi DeJong-Hughes,

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Major soil health research project revealed for World Soil Day

To celebrate World Soil Day, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced a project that will accelerate the adoption of soil health practices on farms by creating standardized measurements that show the benefits of soil health management.

The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and Soil Health Partnership received a $9.4 million grant from FFAR and matching funds from a number of companies and private donors. With the $20 million in funding,

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Minnesota Department of Ag offers helpline for stressed farmers

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture unveiled the Farm & Rural Helpline this fall as a resource for Minnesota farmers and rural residents under stress. The free, confidential service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

While MDA long offered a crisis line to farmers, Meg Moynihan, state programs administrator principal with MDA, said the service was retooled and relaunched as the Farm & Rural Helpline to reach farmers before stress becomes a more serious crisis.

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Minnesota corn farm-Summer 2016

2018 Innovation Grant Program proposal deadline is Dec. 15

Minnesota corn farmers once again have the opportunity to put their innovative conservation ideas into action through the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) Innovation Grant Program. Proposals on how to reduce nitrate loss, improve soil health, and protect water quality are being accepted through Dec.15, 2017.

MCGA, working alongside the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council (MCR&PC), is offering a total of $300,000 in Innovation Grants to any Minnesota corn farmer seeking to test or develop an innovative or best practice in the following areas:

  • Nitrate loss reduction
  • Improved nitrogen management practices for Minnesota soils
  • Maintaining or improving water quality
  • Innovative soil conservation practices
  • Comparing and contrasting the measurable values of large data set decision tools

In 2017,

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End-of-year crop survey results needed for safety net programs

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey approximately 90,000 U.S. producers for final information on 2017 row crops during the first two weeks of December. Details on harvested acreage, production and storage will be used to establish farm safety net programs, making it crucial farmers take the time to provide accurate information.

NASS uses the survey results to help establish county level estimates used by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and the Risk Management Agency to administer insurance programs.

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Innovation Grant Spotlight: Matt Wiebers

The 2017 Innovation Grant Program is well underway, with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) investing more than $250,000 in 23 farmer-led projects focused on conservation. Throughout the summer and fall we have been highlighting ongoing projects focused on how to better manage nitrogen and protect water quality. You can apply to the 2018 Innovation Grant Program here.

As an Innovation Grant recipient, Matt Wiebers is working with farmers to find the optimal nitrogen rate on their farms through trials that not only provide actionable information,

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Ecuador producers visit MN to tour local ethanol plant

A group of farmers from small to mid-sized poultry, swine and dairy farms in Ecuador visited Minnesota earlier this week for a close look at the production of American DDGS, as they explore the ethanol coproduct as an alternative feed.

While it produces its own corn, Ecuador has tight restrictions on corn imports. However the price of corn in the country is high, which led livestock producers to learn more about the production and safety of DDGS as a possible alternative to import.

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MN ag leaders promote the importance of free trade

AgriGrowth held its annual meeting last week in the Twin Cities, bringing together representatives from agriculture and the food systems industry. With the renegotiation of NAFTA front-of-mind for many in the ag sector, the meeting kicked off with a panel session on trade and what is at stake for U.S. agriculture.

The panel featured Devry Boughner Vorwerk, vice president of global corporate affairs at Cargill, Jeff Nawn, global grain trade and biotech affairs lead for DuPont Pioneer,

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U.S. Grains Council: Pace of NAFTA talks not unusual, but worth monitoring

The fourth round of NAFTA renegotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico ended earlier this month with little progress made in efforts to revamp the free trade agreement. The stalled negotiations have been a source of worry for farmers, who are understandably concerned about tariffs in a non-NAFTA world.

Not so fast, however, according to Thomas Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council.

Sleight said four rounds of negotiations with little progress is actually fairly normal in renegotiating a trade deal of this size.

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