Minnesota Agriculture Water Resource Center Update

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*Information provided from the Minnesota Agriculture Water Resource Center 

Nearly 500 Attend Nutrient Management Conferences

Perhaps driven by headlines about nitrates in groundwater, the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit and lower crop prices, crowds totaling nearly 500 attended a pair of nutrient management conferences hosted by the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center in February. Researchers and industry experts from across the Midwest provided updates on the very latest news in soil fertility, crop production and water quality concerns. These conferences provide an opportunity to hear a broad range of presentations in a forum that attracts farmers, agronomy professionals and regulatory agency staff all in one place.

The eight annual Nutrient Management Conference was held February 9 in Morton, featuring information on in-season nitrogen applications, crop nutrient uptake and phosphorus basics. Much of the information is related to research projects funded by farmers through various check-off programs, including AFREC, the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council. More information on AFREC-funded projects can be found at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/business-dev-loans-grants/agricultural-fertilizer-research-and-education-council-afrec.

Dr. Fabian Fernandez, University of Minnesota Nutrient Management Specialist, served as lead organizer for the second annual Nitrogen: Minnesota’s Grand Challenge and Compelling Opportunity Conference, held February 23 in Rochester. Presentations included weather trends and their implications for nitrogen management, cover crops, nitrogen sources and additives, nitrogen losses in manured fields, and a summary of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s private drinking water well nitrate monitoring program. 

PowerPoint presentations from the conferences can be found on the “Events” page at www.mawrc.org.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is the primary sponsor and our partner in organizing these events. Planning assistance is also provided by U of M Extension and MN NRCS. Additional funding is provided by numerous sponsors.

 

New Fact Sheet – Water Appropriations Permits for Livestock Producers

In response to frequent inquiries from livestock producers about Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water appropriations permit rules and guidelines, the MAWRC has developed a simple fact sheet to help answer many of the most common questions, and point farmers toward additional agency resources.

Minnesota statutes require all water users withdrawing more than 10,000 gallons per day or more than one million gallons per year to obtain a water appropriation permit from the DNR. While this permit requirement has been in place for more than a decade, the DNR had done little to publicize the requirement. In recent months, livestock producers have begun receiving letters from the DNR notifying them of the requirement.

One of the first questions for many livestock farmers – how many animals does it take to consume one million gallons of water per year? Estimating water use can be very difficult, so our fact sheet incorporates information from the University of Minnesota which has previously been used by the DNR to determine permit thresholds. The MAWRC’s fact sheet can be found at http://mawrc.org/assets/livestock-water-use-permit.pdf.

Livestock farms using more than one million but less than five million gallons of water annually can apply for a simplified general permit for a one-time fee of $100. Those using more than five million but less than fifty million gallons must obtain an individual permit, which costs $150, and pay an annual water use fee of $140. All water permit holders are required to report water use annually to the DNR. For more information, go to http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/watermgmt_section/appropriations/permits.html.

Curious about tile nitrate levels?

Headlines ranging from Des Moines drinking water to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia are heightening interest in nitrate levels in tile drainage. It is more important than ever to know the nitrate levels in the tile draining your fields. To help better understand nitrate levels in tile drainage, the MAWRC is offering free, confidential nitrate screening.

When tiles are flowing, collect samples of 2 to 4 ounces of water in clean plastic bags or bottles. Multiple samples are preferred to assess nitrate levels throughout the year. Discovery Farms Minnesota monitoring indicates that greater than 90% of annual tile flow occurs from March through July. In fact, tiles may not be running in August, so we recommend collecting samples starting right now, and repeating every week or two as long as tiles flow. It is important to label each sample with the date and source of the water. If not immediately analyzed, the samples should be frozen until the day of analysis.

Samples can be brought to the MAWRC booth at Farmfest, which will be in Morton on August 2-4, 2016. Samples will be analyzed immediately at the booth and results will be ready in about 20 minutes. Well water samples can also be screened.

There are no water quality standards for tile water, but some regulatory agencies and activist organizations are pushing for significant reductions. This screening program will help farmers better understand relative nitrate nitrogen levels on their own fields.

Pressures on Minnesota Farmland Continue

Increased urban development coupled with accelerated land acquisition by state and federal agencies continues to reduce the area of land in farms in Minnesota. According to the USDA census of agriculture, land in farms declined by 5.5% between 1997 and 2012, from 27.56 million acres to 26.04 million acres.

The MAWRC is a non-profit research and education corporation comprised of 24 agricultural organizations working together to address water issues. For more information, go to www.mawrc.org .

©2016 Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center. All Rights Reserved

Pre-Session Review

Short Session to Kick off March 8th

This will be one of the shortest sessions on record. The following is the time line that has been adopted:

  • Convene March 8th

Three committee deadlines for the 2016 session have been established:

  • April 1, committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin;
  • April 8, committees must act favorably on bills, or companion bills, that met the first deadline in the other house; and
  • April 21, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.
  • Easter break will run Friday March 25th to Tuesday March 29
  • Passover break will be Friday April22 to Monday April 25

This shortened time table will mean many policy committees may only meet four or five times. Much is being driven by Capitol remodeling. The big decisions for Taxes and Transportation are unlikely to retrace committee action but are more likely to start in conference committees where they left off last year. Likely there will be one major supplemental budget bill.

2016 Session Dynamics 

  • Capitol remodeling will affect legislative flow in two areas by reducing availability of public contact and reduce time available to legislators
  • Election year atmosphere- All House and Senate members are up for election
  • National Presidential politics may translate to throw incumbents out. This is probably part of the decisions by many to jump ship and could be a factor in decision making decisions
  • Budget Surplus will provide opportunities for controversy but the number is lower than we thought it would be
  • Governor Dayton has announced he is not running. May make more stalwart positions
  • Senate DFL majority caucus faces some internal leadership challenges by the left
  • Election year priorities include Transportation and Tax reform, but very different positions exist between opposing caucuses

2016 Minnesota Pork Producers Association Priorities 

  • Farm tax relief, middle income tax relief and business tax relief 
  • Bonding 
  • Transportation 
  • Few policy bills 
  • Water infrastructure 
  • Ag Nuisance lawsuit 

In the next week we will be sharing the MPPA Legislative Priorities in detail. The Board will be finalizing those within the week. 

Minnesota Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting

The Minnesota Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting will be held: 

January 18, 2016 

1:00-2:30 p.m. 

Minneapolis Hilton, Symphony III

All that are a part of the Strategic Investment Program (SIP) or who are Minnesota Pork Partners are welcome to attend and participate. 

Minnesota Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting Agenda 

I. Call to Order – Lori Stevermer-MPPA President

II. Introductions- MPPA Executive Board, National Pork Producers Council Board Members, MPPA Staff

III. Review of Annual Meeting Procedures, Rules of Debate- Bruce Kleven- MPPA Annual Meeting Counsel

IV. Approval of 2014 Annual Meeting Minutes- Nate Brown MPPA Secretary

V. Election of 2016 MPPA Executive Board

VI. MPPA Financial Report and Program Review- David Preisler- MPPA Executive Director

VII. Guest Speaker: Neil Dierks, National Pork Producers Council, Chief Executive Officer

VIII. 2014 Resolutions, Discussion and Action- Greg Boerboom- Chair of the Public Affairs Committee

IX. Election Results for 2016 MPPA Executive Board

X. Announcements

ANNUAL MEETING CANCELLED

Due to the winter storm, the Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association Annual meeting scheduled for Tuesday Dec 1, 2015 at the Country Inn & Suites in Mankato has been cancelled. 
 
The Annual Meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, January 18th at 1:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Hilton. More information will be provided closer to the date. 

MPPA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Country Inn & Suites

1900 Premier Drive, Mankato 

 

LUNCH: 11:30-12:30  Meeting begins at 12:30 

Preregister by emailing Colleen@mnpork.com 

 

AGENDA

  1. Call to Order – Lori Stevermer-MPPA President
  2. Introductions- MPPA Executive Board, National Pork Producers Council Board Members, MPPA Staff
  3. Review of Annual Meeting Procedures, Rules of Debate- Bruce Kleven- MPPA Annual Meeting Counsel
  4. Approval of 2014 Annual Meeting Minutes- Nate Brown MPPA Secretary
  5. Election of 2016 MPPA Executive Board
  6. MPPA Financial Report and Program Review- David Preisler- MPPA Executive Director
  7. Guest Speaker: Neil Dierks, National Pork Producers Council, Chief Executive Officer
  8. Minnesota Legislative Outlook – Jerry Schoenfeld- MPPA Lobbyist, Greater State Advisors
  9. 2014 Resolutions, Discussion and Action- Greg Boerboom- Chair of the Public Affairs Committee
  10. Election Results for 2016 MPPA Executive Board
  11. Announcements

 

Guest Speaker: Neil Dierks, National Pork Producers Council, Chief Executive Officer

Neil will be giving an industry update on legislative issues that are impacting pork producers or could impact future pork production.

MPB Annual Meeting  3:00 – 5:00 p.m – MPPA members are encouraged to the Minnesota Pork Board (Pork Checkoff) annual meeting following the MPPA Meeting

Social Hour – immediately following the MPB annual meeting

 

Click here to see MPPA Resolutions