More than 30 people attending the 11th Watershed Network meeting Nov. 19 in New Ulm learned about research work by ag commodity groups, perspectives on One Watershed One Plan, and the Minnesota River Congress. Paul Meints, research director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said their biggest concern is nitrate loss. It has both environmental and economic impacts. ”We are developing a programmatic approach to address nitrate loss,” Meints said. About $3.5 million generated from the corn check-off funds research on new products from corn, production, and stewardship. “Green chemistry” to discover new polymers using corn will be a focus of grant funds in 2016. Innovation grants in 2016 could help fund projects such as developing a cover crop planter. “We need to help farmers show what they can do,” he said. Numerous examples of stewardship efforts by farmers are shown on the “Conservation Story Map” (photo) linked from the MCGA website. For the soybean growers, research will include healthy soils and cover crops, and their economic benefit for farmers, said Joe Smentek, director of public policy for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.Adam Beilke of BWSR gave an overview of the One Watershed One Plan program, and how it relates to the MPCA’s Watershed Restoration And Protection Strategy. Diane Sander of the Crow River Organization of Water provided a local perspective on progress of the One Watershed One Plan that was launched earlier this year in the North Fork Crow River watershed. Scott Sparlin of the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River gave an update on the recent Minnesota River Congress event Nov. 12 in New Ulm. The next Congress will take place in late February or early March.The spring watershed network meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 21 in Redwood Falls. The program is scheduled to include an update by Dr. Jeff Strock, U of M-Lamberton on drainage research at the Brian Hicks farm in Redwood County.
Minnesota Conservation FederationNovember 23rd, 2016|
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