Agriculture landowners can now apply for cost-sharing money from the state to help them comply with new buffer laws designed to reduce runoff into Minnesota’s rivers and lakes. A total of $5 million is available, which the Board of Water and Soil Resources’ John Jaschke says should help “many hundreds” of landowners. He says, “If it turns out that we have more demand than we have supply for those funds, we may have to go back [to the legislature] and see if we can get some additional appropriations.” State law requires buffer strips along public waters by November 1st and along public drainage ditches by one year later — but landowners can get an extension in some cases. For more info, contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District.
Jaschke says half of the $5 million appropriation must go to landowners in northwestern counties because they were not included in funding for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. He says, “Those northwestern counties are some of the more challenging ones because they have very flat topographies…. They have very channelized hydrology where they basically put everything in a straight ditch that runs north-south, east-west and gets eventually to the Red River. So they have a little bit more to do there.”
For those eligible, the state will pick up 75 percent of the cost to implement a buffer plan with the landowner paying the rest.
More info in this conference call with Jaschke: