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Letter: Governor declaring 'war on agriculture'

Local farmers could be facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines under a new buffer rule proposal brought forward by Governor Dayton's administration.

Local farmers could be facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines under a new buffer rule proposal brought forward by Governor Dayton’s administration.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) introduced a proposed Administrative Penalty Order (APO) last week that would fine farmers out of compliance with Minnesota's riparian buffer law by up to $500 per linear foot. This could be levied on farmers who are even a few feet out of compliance across their entire property.

I’m disappointed the administration has once again chosen to leave farmers out of the decision-making process. For years we’ve worked with stakeholders to find common ground on this issue, and once again the administration drops the hammer on farmers without allowing them to be part of a solution.

BWSR is only giving farmers a two-week comment period to make their voices heard. It’s outrageous because they could be one foot out of compliance along that buffer strip and now they could be fined for the entire thing. I hope people are engaged and contact the Governor’s Office and let them know this war on agriculture is unacceptable.

The comment period lasts until 4:30 p.m. on April 16 and can be submitted by email to buffers.bwsr@state.mn.us .

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