Chippewa Farmers Host Water, Environmental Experts at Annual Education Meeting

Warren Formo, Joe Smentek talk current issues at Montevideo meeting

The Chippewa County Corn and Soybean Growers hosted their annual winter education meeting March 10 in Montevideo, Minn. This year’s event focused on water and environmental issues.

“The watershed trends and issues are a hot topic,” said Mike Bosch, Chippewa County Corn & Soybean Growers chairman. “Warren Formo is from the area and Joe Smentek is a great resource for us.”

Formo, executive director for Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center, addressed farmers focusing on the developments on the national level of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). Formo explained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was charged to clarify what waters are defined under WOTUS and which ones are under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Formo also addressed the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s N fertilizer rule, which will address N fertilizer application in the fall and restrict application in certain instances of N fertilizer in coarsely textured soil. The other part of the rule will look at the potential of having a formal process written into the rule to enforce different nutrient management regulations.

Joe Smentek, director of public affairs for Minnesota Soybean, also addressed the group. Smentek talked about the current state of the 2015 buffer law.

“It’s really important for farmers to work with their Soil, Water and Conservation District to put a practice on their farm that will protect water quality and help maximize their return on investment, which is possible as an alternative practice to buffers in this law.”

More than 40 farmers attended the winter educational meeting.

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