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A new report says Georgia should step up for mothers and infants, Oregon communities force a polluter to shut down, and we have an update on the FBI's probe of Trump allies, including Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa.


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Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

MN Farmers Given Bigger Opportunity to Be 'Climate Smart'


Monday, June 27, 2022   

From extreme drought to wet springs, Minnesota farmers are seeing firsthand the impact of climate change. To help address the growing threat, a new funding opportunity aims to give producers more tools to protect natural resources.

The McKnight Foundation is giving the state $100,000 to bolster its Water Quality Certification Program. It means adding a Climate Smart component, where current enrollees receive funds to assess and apply practices to make their land more resilient.

State Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said in the broader climate-change fight, Minnesota farmers are on the frontlines.

"What we've had in the last couple of years," said Petersen, "2019 we had the wettest year on record. 2021, we had the worst drought we've had since 1988. We had the worst week of drought we've ever had in August of 2021."

He said producers can be part of the solution through practices like grazing livestock or improved management of nitrogen fertilizer.

As for measuring the certification program, Petersen said they're approaching one million enrolled acres. He acknowledged they could be moving faster, but said demand is still promising.

Brad Jordahl Redlin - the manager of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program - said competition for conservation aid is fierce, and their initiative fills some of those gaps.

He noted an official works closely with a farmer in assessing their operations. He likened it to an energy audit of someone's home.

"'Those windows are particularly leaky, but we love the insulation above the garage,' said Redlin. "We kind of do that for our Climate Smart farm endorsement. 'You have an opportunity here on this corner section to maybe do some no-till, or do some perennial plantings on a border.'"

In southern Minnesota, farmer Ron Frank has been doing conservation work on his land for several years. But he said the certification program pushes these efforts even further.

"The program has helped me get a little deeper into the cover crops and those kinds of things," said Frank.

Climate Smart participants can receive a minimum of $1,000 a year for up to five years. It's now the fifth endorsement water quality program enrollees can receive.

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