Balancing the needs of farmers and the need for safe drinking water
The Department of Agriculture is moving forward with the rule-making process in the application and monitoring of nitrates. Some legislators introduced bills to ensure the nitrate rules the department was considering would not unnecessarily hamper farmers. Those bills were heard for informational purposes only this week. During the hearing, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Fredrickson stated the department was taking a common-sense approach to the new rules and would continue to holding public hearings.
The morning before the committee hearing, Gov. Dayton and Commissioner Frederickson held a press conference to address nitrate levels in our water. The plan would create a system of voluntary and mandatory mitigation practices in areas with high nitrate levels in public water supplies. Nitrates occur naturally but also come from fertilizers seeping into ground and surface waters. The final rules will be released by the Department of Agriculture in December.