For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520
By Rep. Paul Anderson
The Department of Agriculture is wrapping up this week a series of public listening sessions on the topic of a new rule pertaining to the application of fertilizer in the fall. The proposed rule deals specifically with nitrogen fertilizer and restricts its application in the fall and on frozen soil in vulnerable groundwater areas. It also provides for a mitigation process and application of “best management practices” in areas with high concentrations of nitrates in groundwater.
The last of the listening sessions was scheduled to be held on Monday of this week in St. Paul. In addition, the department will accept written comments through Aug. 17. After that, there is a series of steps that must be followed, including approval by an administrative law judge, before the rule could officially be adopted. It’s expected this process will take until the summer or fall of next year, at the earliest. There are links on the Department of Agriculture’s website that provide additional information and allow for written comments. If you are interested, contact my office at (651) 296-4317 or my home at (320) 239-2726.
Was in Des Moines, Iowa, last week for a legislative conference and co-chaired the meetings of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. We heard reports on new technology in the field, and also got an update on work done so far on the new farm bill, which is scheduled to be completed by 2018. Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, took part in that presentation. It’s expected that Northey may soon be named to a top position at USDA in Washington, D.C.
It was typical corn-growing weather there during our conference. Temps in the 90s, accompanied by high relative humidity, made for some uncomfortable conditions outside. The corn fields around Des Moines were in full tassel and looked very good, although they are also in need of rain. The long-range forecasts were calling for continued hot weather, so it will be interesting to hear how their crop comes through the critical pollination stage under those conditions.
We also toured a cellulosic ethanol plant in the area. When at full production, it’s expected that 70,000 large square bales of corn stover will be utilized annually in the production of ethanol. Officials at the plant said they are encouraging farmers who bale corn stalks to leave their fields untouched in the fall and not do heavy tillage. The plan is to come back in the spring with a light tillage pass and then plant into that residue.
The weather was nearly perfect for parades this past weekend in both Sauk Centre and Freeport. Good crowds were on hand for both, and the kids lining the parade routes seemed to do quite well in filling their bags with candy tossed their way. No parades on our schedule this week, but the Stearns County Fair is coming up next weekend, July 27-30. Glenwood’s Waterama is also set for that same weekend.
As this is written Monday morning, our weather is also heating up. Highs in the 90s with heat advisories were forecast, followed by several chances of rain the rest of the week. Precipitation has been spotty around the area, and some are in greater need of rainfall than others. Our farm would be in the category of needing rain soon, as we’ve had only six-tenths of an inch so far this month. The corn is just starting to tassel and could certainly use a drink!
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