Comments detail efforts by corn farmers to protect Minnesota River

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association submitted comments in response to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s recent reports detailing the health of the Minnesota River. The comments detailed on-farm efforts in place today to protect the long-term health of the river, as well as recommendations to promote best practices on the farm.

The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report, released earlier this year, details the Minnesota River’s declining health due to rising sediment, higher flows and eroding fields and streambanks, in addition to water quality issues. The Water Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) report used data from the TMDL to propose actions that will help cut the river’s sediment levels in half.

MCGA President Brian Thalmann submitted comments detailing efforts that protect the long-term health of the Minnesota River, including:

  • The multi-million-dollar investment by the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council (MCR&PC), in conjunction with MCGA, in third-party research focused on understanding nitrogen fertilizer management, soil health and overall best management practices to promote conservation on the farm. 
  • Recent program, policy and research advancements that have been implemented since analysis for the reports was completed, including the Groundwater Protection Rule, Agriculture Research, Education and Extension Technology Transfer Program (AGREETT), Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program and the Minnesota Buffer Law.
  • Recommendations for future investments in projects and implementation shown to improve water quality. Thalmann cited Clean Water Funds as a funding source to promote program implementation in agriculture as farmers continue to face financial stress.

Thalmann also addressed parts of each report that potentially oversimplified certain issues attributed to agriculture. For example, a number of considerations need to be made around the complex process of phosphorous moving from farms to nearby waterways and the solutions to prevent it.

By identifying practices already in place on the farm, Minnesota’s corn farmers can better inform state agencies of the actions taken proactively to protect waterways. Raising awareness of these practices is crucial in determining future strategies implemented by the state. Thank you to Minnesota’s corn farmers who submitted comments about preventative practices already in place on their farm.

View MCGA’s comments here.

View both the TMDL and WRAPS reports here.  

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