Local farmers dealing with buffer law as pressure on small agriculture builds
Local farmers dealing with buffer law as pressure on small agriculture builds.
His 80 acres aren’t really enough to make any kind of living, and he doesn’t have the capacity or youthful energy to take on a larger load.
Forested and grass buffers block at least some potentially contaminated water from reaching the river, and Barker chooses to maintain a large forested and grass area within the property.
Yet, the Barkers, like any other agricultural property owners in Minnesota, are subject to the buffer law, enacted in 2015.
The law calls for all public waters in the state (rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands) to have a 50-foot-average buffer of perennial vegetation on all sides.
All public drainage systems (i.e. ditches), meanwhile, require a 16 1/2-foot buffer.
Throughout Minnesota, complaints are being raised by farmers as to how the state and local government has the authority to require changes to their land without providing compensation.
He just doesn’t see how it’s going to make a difference.
The buffer law was passed in 2015 on the back of research and evidence, showing that Minnesota water quality is far short of impeccable.
A 2011 study of the Cannon River Watershed — encompassing nine counties, including Rice, Steele and Waseca — reports much of the water there is also not swimmable or fishable.