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VOICE ®

VOLUME 35 • No. 3

of Agriculture

MAY 2015

Farm Bureau Members Travel to Washington D.C.

F

ourteen Farm Bureau members from across Minnesota met with their members of Congress and Senators while in Washington, D.C. during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Farmers to Washington D.C. trip, March 23-27. Participants met with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; Representatives Walz, Emmer, Peterson and Nolan; and staff from the offices of Representatives Kline and Paulsen. During their meetings, Farm Bureau members discussed the importance of trade to Minnesota and encouraged the members of Congress to support Trade Promotion Authority in order to ensure that trade deals currently being negotiated are able to be finalized. The Farm Bureau members also asked for support to once again delist the Western Great Lakes Gray Wolves population in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and return the management of the wolf back to state control. They also discussed the importance of a federal, voluntary food labeling standard created through the newly introduced Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. “Research shows that the most effective way to communicate with your members of Congress is in Washington D.C.,” said MFBF President Kevin Paap. “It is vital to agriculture for our Senators and members

of Congress to put a face to the families involved in Minnesota agriculture. Farm Bureau’s Farmers to Washington D.C. trip provides this opportunity.” Attendees were able to be audience members with fellow Farm Bureau members from Iowa, Missouri and Texas during AgriTalk where they were addressed by U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), U.S. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator John Cornyn (RTX), Senator Roy Blunt, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and the state Farm Bureau presidents from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Texas. President Kevin Paap as chair of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Trade Advisory Committee focused his comments on the importance of trade. In addition, while in D.C. Farm Bureau members met with AFBF staff and D.C. Central Kitchen.

MORE FARMERS TO D.C. PHOTOS TO 6A }

Photo by Amber Hanson

FARM BUREAU MEMBERS from across Minnesota met with their Senators and members of Congress while in Washington, D.C. during the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Farmers to Washington D.C. trip, March 23-27. Pictured left to right are Larry and Sharon Larson – Mower County, Loren Molenaar – Kandiyohi County, Mike and Connie Gunderson – Mahnomen County, Carolyn and Jonathon Olson – Lyon County, Joann and Arlyn Groth – Winona County, Joe Sullivan – Renville County, Sandy and Barry Nelson – Stevens County and MFBF President Kevin Paap.

Farmers for Water, Wildlife and Conser�a�on Farm Bureau members have been actively engaged sharing what they are doing on their farms and ranches to protect our state’s natural resources: water, wildlife and conservation. Governor Dayton’s proposed 50-foot buffer zone has many members speaking up and sharing what they do on their farms. A few Farm Bureau member’s blogs are highlighted as examples of how farmers can share their stories and make their voices heard. We encourage you to read in their blogs in their entirety.

Mark and Sarah He�i�

Photo by Alika Faythe Hartmann, courtesy of River Valley Woman

FACTS • Water quality is a top priority for farmers. • Farm Bureau supports current buffer laws. • Buffers can be effective when designed to fit the conditions of the area.

The Buffer Strip Controversy…Debunked Posted on Faith, Farming & Cowboy Boots - Sara Hewitt, LeSueur County Farm Bureau member

Currently, the law states that public drainage ditches have to have a buffer strip of 16.5 feet. However, that buffer strip doesn’t necessarily have to be in place until a redetermination of benefits of the public

drainage ditch is made by the county. This is why our state should focus on funding our local soil and water conservation offices at the proper level, so they can complete these redetermination of benefits. This is probably the biggest misconception that people don’t understand about current law – the ditch has to go through the redetermination before a person actually has to put the 16.5-foot buffer strip in place. That being said, I don’t know many people who farm up to a drainage ditch without leaving at least 10-15 feet of vegetation already. Also, another thing to understand about how drainage ditches are constructed is that they have a berm up on the sides, or a raised bank – that means the water doesn’t run down directly into them. The water has to go

Vacation Time!

Need a Speaker? SECTION C

SPECIAL INSERT

PAGE 6A

Grainger Benefits PAGE 12B

through the soil, filtering it. If you don’t understand the many different things farmers are currently doing to protect water, wildlife habitat and soil, please ask! Source: hewittfarmsinc.wordpress.com/2 015/03/25/the-buffer-stripcontroversy-debunked/ Water Quality – Don’t Put all Your Eggs in the Buffer Basket Posted on Carolyn CAREs – Carolyn Olson, Lyon County Farm Bureau member On our farm, we have planted some buffer strips with the help of our Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS)

BLOGS TO 3A }

Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it there is accomplishment. Without it there are only alibis.

HENRY FORD

May 2015 Voice of Agriculture  
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