Tag: Water Quality

Legislative Update: Section 179, Buffer Tax Credit and more hit home stretch

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

It sounds like planters are finally starting to roll in most areas of Minnesota. While you are busy in the field, lawmakers are busy in St. Paul trying to finalize a long to-do list during the last two weeks of session.

Taxes

Last week the Senate worked on their tax bill by giving an overview in the taxes committee,

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MCGA Leadership: Stop spreading myths about the Groundwater Protection Rule

Last week, the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule was finally released for farmers to review and comment. While the rule has only recently been the focus of disdain from some in Minnesota agriculture, it has been in the making for nearly 30 years with significant input from agricultural organizations along the way.

Suffice to say, the Groundwater Protection Rule is not going away.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) has been involved with the development of the rule,

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Minnesota corn farmers take proactive approach to water quality

In fall 2016, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and its grower leaders announced an ambitious goal to become the most sustainable and environmentally responsible corn farmers in the nation. A major part of that goal is to continuously improve the measures implemented by farmers to protect nearby waterways.

Minnesota’s corn growers are investing in research and education to better manage their use of nitrogen fertilizer. Since 2014, Minnesota’s corn farmers have invested nearly $6 million of their own funds through the corn check-off in education and research that improves nitrogen management strategies to reduce nitrate loss in water.

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Setting the stage for profitability: Local partnership produces game-changing innovation

By investing in the Minnesota corn check-off, our state’s corn farmers are setting the stage for profitability. While low commodity prices are a point of stress, allocating resources to improving the areas we can control is more important than ever. Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting how your investment is doing just that. You can read the series to date here.

Through the corn check-off, Minnesota farmers have invested nearly $15 million in University of Minnesota research since 1985.

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MDA releases proposed Groundwater Protection Rule

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule – previously referred to as the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule – this morning. The proposed rule, the statement of need and reasonableness, appendixes for the statement of need and reasonableness and the notice of public hearings in July are all listed on the MDA website, which can be viewed here.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and its grower leaders will be carefully reviewing the more than 400 pages of documents over the coming days.

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Buffers in eastern MN

Gov. Dayton states support for tax relief for ag land converted to buffers

Governor Mark Dayton announced his support today for a bill that was a top priority for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) during the 2018 legislative session. The bipartisan legislation would provide farmers with a $50 per acre tax credit for farmland no longer in production due to the Minnesota Buffer Law, eliminating the financial penalty of continuing to impose property taxes at the highest rates on farm land that is converted to buffers.

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MDA responds to MCGA’s call for the release of the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule

Last month, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) sent a letter to Governor Mark Dayton requesting the immediate release of both the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule and detailed GIS maps, followed by a 90-day comment period. Recently, MCGA received an official response to its requests from Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson.

In the letter, Commissioner Frederickson stated the draft Nitrogen Rule has not yet been released because the language and accompanying Statement of Need and Reasonableness are still being drafted,

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The historical timeline of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule

The Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule has become a hotly debated topic during the 2018 legislative session. With that, there have been many inaccurate reports circling regarding the draft Rule, particularly how this draft Rule came to be. Below is a detailed timeline of the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, which dates back to 1989.

1989

  • Groundwater Protection Act is passed by Minnesota Legislature and signed into law. Authority for the Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan and the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule is provided through the passing of the Groundwater Protection Act.

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Legislative Update: Buffer law, Farm Bill and tax reform have a busy week

By Amanda Bilek, Minnesota Corn Growers Association senior public policy director

The Minnesota Legislature returned from the Easter/Passover break this week and action picked right back up with only six weeks left in the regular session and a lot of work left to accomplish. It was a very busy week for agriculture—not only in St. Paul, but also Washington D.C. There is a lot to cover, so I will get right to it.

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Buffer near Montevideo, MN

Following the ag community’s response, BWSR says proposed buffer penalties a mistake

Last week the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) released a proposed amendment to the Administrative Penalty Order (APO) plan for Minnesota Buffer Law implementation that would allow counties and watershed districts to assess penalties up to $500 per linear foot out of compliance with the law. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association released a statement calling the proposed amendment beyond excessive and highly unreasonable.

To follow-up its statement, MCGA issued a letter to BWSR Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor Tom Gile that outlined major concerns with both the amendment and the procedure through which the amendment was proposed.

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