Meeting planned on ag issues

Published 10:30 am Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vegetative buffers and soil health will be part of an upcoming, free seminar offered Friday, March 3 in Austin.

Northern Country Co-op is hosting the event at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Austin to cover topics, such as the cooperative’s Answer Acre Field Results, agronomy/spray clinic,  grain marketing, Illinois state nitrate testing clinic, and soil and water health.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 9 a.m. A noon buffet lunch will be served.



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Mower Soil & Water Conservation District’s Aaron Gamm, a district technician, will speak about Minnesota’s state buffer law, its Nov. 1 deadline for buffers along public waterways, and the status of buffers in Mower County.

A year ago, Mower SWCD announced its mapping inventory found that nearly 95 percent of Mower County’s public waterways had an adequate level of buffers.

Tom Cotter, an Austin-area farmer who is part of the Mower Soil Health Team, also will speak about cover cropping in southern Minnesota and soil health.

A month ago, Mower SWCD sent notification letters to about 300 landowners who have property appearing to need more vegetative buffers, encouraging their cooperation before the state’s first compliance deadline this fall. Overall, those landowners need to establish perennial vegetation on nearly 280 acres of cropland.

Since the mailing, Gamm has been working with dozens of those landowners on options for adding buffer or to update records if they already have adequate buffers.

Cotter, who was named with his father, Michael, as Mower SWCD’s 2016 Conservationists of the Year, will talk about how cover crops have increased grain quality while reducing chemical and fertilizer inputs on his farm. Cotter, who also raises beef cattle, also has seen increased water infiltration and greatly reduced erosion.

Other guest speakers are Northern County Co-op staff, including precision ag specialist Herb Dowse, agronomist Chad Steinkamp, and soil health consultant Dave Vaughan.

Additional speakers are Juan Mayta of Climate Corp.; Jason Sigebiel of FC Stone; Rick VandenHuevel of VH Consulting; and Tyler Steinkamp and Keaton Kruger of Winfield United.