Clues from past help build soil health

A soil health specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service says farmers should try to mimic the original landscape. Jay Fuhrer is based in Bismarck, North Dakota and tells Brownfield there are many benefits to going back to what he calls “pre-European” farming. “If you look at what was on the landscape on a specific… Read more »

Letter to Dayton asking to expedite release of buffer maps

The office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is being asked by farmer leaders to expedite the release of the DNR’s buffer protection maps. Minnesota Soybean Growers CEO Tom Slunecka says Dayton’s decision to exempt private drainage ditches is a good thing for farmers and rural landowners. “This issue is one that was very complicated and… Read more »

Private ditches removed from Buffer Rule

The leader of a Minnesota farm organization says Governor Dayton’s decision to remove private ditches from his Buffer Rule brings clarity to farmers and landowners. Late last week Dayton asked the Department of Natural Resources to stop mapping private drainage ditches as part of the Rule’s jurisdiction. Minnesota Farm Bureau president Kevin Paap tells Brownfield… Read more »

Bayer proposes changes to mitigate neonic risk to bees

Bayer CropScience says it has something important to add to the EPA’s preliminary conclusion that a certain neonic insecticide is a risk to pollinators. Dave Fischer, Director of Bayer’s Pollinator Safety, tells Brownfield the EPA looked at 37 different use patterns for the chemical and only three had a risk to bees. Two are used… Read more »

Largest U.S. organic and sustainable conference set for February

Farmers interested in learning how to take advantage of the growing demand for organic can get started by attending largest organic conference in the country. Lauren Langworthy with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) tells Brownfield farmers with all levels of interest in organic will gather in Lacrosse, Wisconsin for their annual conference… Read more »

USDA Cover Crop Chart

  The USDA has developed a decision aid that helps farmers interested in using cover crops. USDA research soil scientist says the Cover Crop Chart is simply a pdf file listing 58 different cover crops. “It’s sort of a visual interface of all the different cover crops that are possible that can be used in… Read more »

$6 corn possible in 2016

A weather expert predicts corn prices over $6 if weather models hold through this summer. Bill Kirk with Weather Trends 360 uses weather statistics from 24 climate cycles for his forecasts. He says the current El Niño weather pattern should bring a wetter April, possibly delaying planting.  He also predicts a freeze in late May… Read more »

Corn nitrogen rate calculator

An online tool can help producers identify the optimum rate of nitrogen to maximize efficiency. Dr. Fabian Fernandez is a professor of nutrient management at the University of Minnesota. He says nitrogen is the most important nutrient, primarily because of how responsive corn is to it. As farmers look at their fertility programs as an… Read more »

What do consumers want?

Rural Issues copy

The Center for Food Integrity says consumers want to know about the ethics of agriculture, not the science. Executive Director Terry Fleck tells Brownfield their 2015 consumer research survey on transparency found that consumers are most concerned about food safety, diet and health, and farming practices. “People really want to speak to farmers—they trust farmers… Read more »

Growmark launches sustainability initiative

The director of agronomy marketing at Growmark says its new sustainability initiative stands on three pillars. Ron Milby tells Brownfield the Endure program takes into account the social and environmental aspects of sustainability, but really focuses on the economic component. “That really aligns with our mission statement of improving the long-term profitability of our member-owners. … Read more »