ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources has introduced a proposal that could result in thousands of dollars in fines annually for farmers who are even a few feet out of compliance across their entire property.
The Administrative Penalty Order BWSR issued last week would fine farmers out of compliance with Minnesota’s riparian buffer law by up to $500 per linear foot. Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said the proposed fine structure is out of line.
“The buffer law has serious question marks and we are seeing real concerns come to light as implementation process continues,” Lueck said. “There was suspicion over whether buffers were ready to enter the enforcement phase and these out-of-line fines that are proposed could be the result of putting this program into effect before it was ready. The ag. industry and farmers themselves are having a hard enough time in today’s competitive climate without having our own government pile on with absurd fines for non-compliance. It is good the House has scheduled an emergency hearing on this issue so we can restore some common sense.”
A comment period lasts until 4:30 p.m. April 16 and can be submitted by email to email@example.com, or by U.S. mail at the following address:
Buffers and Soil Loss Operations Supervisor
Board of Soil and Water Resources
3555 9th Street NW, Suite 350
Rochester, MN 55901
The House Agriculture Policy Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed penalties 10:15 a.m. Thursday in Room 5 of the State Office Building in St. Paul (100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155).