Local counties not affected by buffer strip fine proposal

Some counties, like Mower County, enforced their own program locally. Area farmers in Olmsted and Dodge counties still won't be affected because they're almost 100-percent compliant.

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 10:57 PM

KIMT NEWS 3 - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has promoted an initiative for farmers in the state to plant buffer strips between their fields and waterways to prevent run-off and improve water quality, and now there's a proposal that could lead to huge fines for farmers who didn't comply.

However, this isn't really affecting local counties.

Some counties, like Mower County, enforced their own program locally. Other counties, like Olmsted and Dodge, did not and fall under state jurisdiction.

Justin Hanson, the Mower Soil & Water Conservation District manager, said area farmers in Olmsted and Dodge counties still won't be affected because they're almost 100-percent compliant.

"They did this program before Governor Dayton came out with this initiative," Hanson said. "They just decided that it was a local priority and that they were going to do it and by just working with land owners, they became almost 100-percent compliant just through that effort."

Randy Smith farms in Mower County and said most farmers are conscious about water quality efforts.

"They don't want to lose their land," Smith said. "They don't want it washing down stream and they don't want to be over using fertilizer and chemicals either."

State officials said they expect the board's buffer committee to reject this proposal when they meet Thursday.

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