Minnesota is the guinea pig for water quality
“Again, the issue of nutrient management has the potential to affect all of agriculture and all MACA members throughout the region. For this reason, we'll stay on this issue and keep you abreast of the latest.”
Taylor referenced how important happenings in Minnesota are to what might happen in the rest of the nation’s Midwestern states, and all watersheds draining into major rivers throughout the nation.
Bill Bond, Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Association (MCPRA) provided his take on what is occurring around the voluntary Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification program. His explanation follows:
"The agricultural 'certainty' movement was launched January 17, when EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and USDA Secretary [Tom] Vilsack joined Minnesota Governor [Mark] Dayton and Minnesota Department of Ag (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson to sign a Memo of Understanding (M.O.U.) to develop a voluntary agriculture certification program to be administered by the MDA.
“The MDA is seeking committee members who will provide recommendations to MDA Commissioner Frederickson regarding the development of the Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification, as well as its particular features and focus. The committee will be convened and staffed by MDA, and will serve at Commissioner Frederickson's discretion. The Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program has the stated goal of enhancing Minnesota's water quality by accelerating adoption of on-farm water quality practices. This was suggested as a ‘model’ for other states once it is established in Minnesota. Almost everyone in agriculture and the environmental movement is nervous about this program.
“The ‘certainty’ is the suggestion that a farmer who adopts this yet to be determined certification of BMPs [best management practices] will be given a pass on TMDLs [total maximum daily loads] and other requirements coming forward for the term of the ‘voluntary contract’ IF the farmer's certified practices can be verified by a ‘third party’...which makes CCA's nervous...or is it an opportunity?”
With the kind of water issues that are raising their ugly heads in the states served by MACA—Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin—it is no wonder that the association needed a well-versed water specialist on retainer.
Taylor provides research and information gathering services directed by MACA in crop protection matters including the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program (USGS NAWQA) and the Great Lakes Initiative involving Canada and Midwestern states. In addition, he monitors, reviews and assists MACA with respect to environmental concerns, and helps MACA ag industry members regarding pending state management plans, legislative and executive branch proposals, laws, regulations and/or developments that might affect them.