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Agronomic research funding request

Published (3/7/2008)
By Mike Cook
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Plenty of solid agricultural research takes place at the University of Minnesota. But Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) thinks more could be done.

He sponsors HF769, which would provide $1 million to the university for basic agronomic research on native plants.

The bill was held over March 4 by the House Higher Education and Work Force Development Policy and Finance Division for possible omnibus bill inclusion. There is no Senate companion.

“There’s a lot of research that’s going on relating to maybe the wildlife impacts with native plants or what the carbon sequestration is or mixes, but not basic agronomic research like viability, yield, response to water, response to nutrients, pest management,” Hansen said.

The bill aims to get data that landowners could use to get the best results or increase production, he said. “When you think of corn you know the number of seeds per plant population you want to have, you know the row width, you know the nutrients. Those are things that have been provided by university research that is out there in the field.”

A technical advisory committee would work with the university and Department of Agriculture to help implement the program.

Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia), the division chairman, did not sound overly optimistic about the bill’s future this year, saying there “probably isn’t a lot of money to work with this session.” He also said the agriculture school got additional base money last year.

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