Minnesota: MDA invites farmers to participate in the revived 2015 Nutrient Management Initiative

Release Date: 03/18/2015

For Immediate Release
Allen Sommerfeld
MDA Communications
Minnesota: MDA invites farmers to participate in the revived 2015 Nutrient Management Initiative

St. Paul, Minnesota, March 18, 2015 – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) invites Minnesota farmers and crop advisers to participate in a unique on-farm nutrient management program. Participants in the Nutrient Management Initiative (NMI) can evaluate the efficiency of different nitrogen management practices on their own farms through the use of replicated field trials. The results of these trials can help farmers fine-tune their nutrient management practices.

Participating farmers work with a crop adviser to set up trials on their own fields. At the end of the growing season, participants will receive a simple economic analysis based on actual nutrient input costs and yield results from their field trial using a yearly average corn price. As compensation for their time, participating farmers receive a total of $1,000, while crop advisers receive $500 per site enrolled. Participants are also eligible for free in-season aerial imagery (True Color, Infrared, NDVI) for any fields enrolled, most likely sometime around mid-August. Individual results are kept strictly confidential; overall results are used for education and outreach activities to help showcase on farm advancements in nitrogen management.

Between 2006 and 2012, there were over 250 field trial sites in southern Minnesota counties with a focus on nitrogen and/or phosphorus rates. Of these sites, over 100 farmer participants and 74 certified crop advisers were involved in the NMI program. Funding is now available through the MDA to offer this program statewide; the NMI is currently open for enrollment through April 15.

The NMI now offers more considerations for practices that include not only nitrogen rate trials, but also nitrogen stabilizer product and timing evaluations. When utilized effectively, these practices increase nitrogen management efficiency and profitability, and also demonstrate practices that can help reduce nitrate-nitrogen losses to surface and groundwater. Realizing farmers and advisers are already experimenting with considerably more nitrogen related practices, NMI enrollment is also open to other management practices that participants feel could provide benefits for both improving farm performance and reducing field nitrogen losses to help improve Minnesota’s water quality.

The program is funded through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment. The MDA assists with this program through promotion, outreach, and payment for participation. Farmers interested in more information on the 2015 NMI program or who would like to enroll, should go online to www.mda.state.mn.us/nmi or contact Ryan Lemickson at 612-209-9181 or ryan.lemickson@state.mn.us. 

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