Town hall meeting in Courtland airs concerns about state rules

Town hall meeting in Courtland airs concerns about state rules.
COURTLAND — Legislators from Minnesota’s District 19 were in Courtland Saturday for a town hall meeting focusing on buffer strips.
Johnson and Frentz spoke on the importance of improving water quality, but wanting to make sure farmers were not hurt by the buffer law.
Assistant Director of Strategy and Operations for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Angie Becker Kudelka introduced a handout with alternative practices for areas where standard buffer laws would not work.
One concern brought up later in the meeting was how that would work as the effects and standards of the buffer strips were not well defined.
Steve Commerford, a New Ulm resident, brought up research going back as far as the 1970’s that indicated that buffer strips were not effective on water quality.
He argued buffers should instead be framed as an issue of pheasant habitat preservation.
Multiple people cited a Star Tribune story that reported research that indicated a lot of water pollution came from cities, primarily lawn fertilizer, pets and pavement runoff.
Joe Smentek, director of public affairs for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association pointed to a phosphate study of the Minnesota River.
“You get to the city of Mankato, right after the city of Mankato it (phosphate levels) shot way up, they blame agriculture for that,” Joe Smentek said.

Learn More