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MN Water Pollution to Top Soil Health Talks

National soil health experts are heading to Minnesota to discuss solutions for farmland water pollution. (iStockphoto)
National soil health experts are heading to Minnesota to discuss solutions for farmland water pollution. (iStockphoto)
February 1, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Flint, Michigan has garnered a lot of national attention over the water problems there, but water quality is a concern for many states, including Minnesota.

Later this month Gov. Mark Dayton will hold a water quality summit, and this week, the Land Stewardship Project is hosting the first of two talks that center on farming practices to improve Minnesota's waterways while also improving farmland soil.

Organizer Doug Nopar hopes the project can get farmers talking about new conservation methods.

"Current federal farm policy really works against soil health, water and conservation,” he points out. “Now, we're starting to take input from farmers on changes they'd like to see in the next federal farm bill."

On Thursday, the group is bringing Jay Fuhrer, a district conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, to Plainview. Fuhrer will discuss how his soil health work in North Dakota could work in Minnesota.

Some of the ideas being discussed include switching some plantings to cover crops, such as small grains and turnips.

Nopar says such methods can help reduce soil erosion, which can help keep pollutants from running into Minnesota's waterways.

"Our hope is to build a larger network of farmers beginning to experiment with these innovative practices, such as cover crops, and sharing ideas with one another over the next few years," he states.

The Land Stewardship Project will also be hosting a second talk Feb. 11 in Lewiston. The cost for either event is $10. More information is available at the project's website.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN