As the legislative session began nearly a week ago, Minnesota farmers are doing their part by hosting county meetings, focusing on hot topics and concerns. Lyon County did just that as they invited farmers and community members to discuss one of those topics-buffers.
Warren Formo, executive director of Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center (MAWRC) addressed a large group of Lyon County farmers March 15 to look at the current buffer legislation and language. Formo urged farmers to engage with their agriculture and commodity groups and be willing to have an open conversation.
“If you see anything that you are concerned about, your agriculture groups need to hear about it,” Formo said.
Formo explained the new legislation and impact it has on open ditches, public waters and county and judicial open ditches in Lyon county.
“We need the state, as well as the county, corn and soybean growers to continue to stay involved with this legislation,” Formo said. “They are making an impact. If they were to stop advocating for clarification on this buffer bill and not voicing your concern, the 16.5 foot buffer will sound like a heck of a deal. Without these groups, we will see even larger uncalled for legislation.”
A few of Formo’s key points from the Lyon County meeting included:
• Explore cost share options with caution-CRP, RIM, etc.
• Recognize that state and federal programs offer cost share but may impose land use restrictions
• Consider long term options
• On rented land, landowners and tenants need strong communication
• The new buffer requirements does not allow public access to your property
• Haying, grazing and other uses may be allowed depending on vegetation
John Biren and Todd Hammer, Lyon County Planning and Zoning administers spoke briefly on what this also means for Lyon County farmers.
“We are more than willing to work with you as much as we can,” Biren said. “We understand the frustrations and the benefits of these buffers, but we are here to help you and your farm.”
The meeting was sponsored by the Lyon County Corn and Soybean Growers, with more than 80 farmers in attendance.