Minnesota corn check-off dollars, self-funded by corn farmers themselves, are funding a wide range of research projects that directly affect local business and families, including the development of value-added products, the management of corn inputs, issues related to ethanol use, the evaluation of genetic traits, and the relationship between agricultural management practices and water quality.

Ethanol Investments

Better Fuel Initiative

·For the last three years, MCGA has been advocating for Minnesota to move from a 10 to a 15 percent ethanol standard for all grades of gasoline.
·This proposal has faced stiff opposition from out-of-state oil interests but also local fuel retailers and petroleum marketers.
·In order to increase the amount of ethanol blended in Minnesota fuel, we have been working with the MN Petroleum Marketers Association on a proposal to achieve the same outcome as an E15 standard but instead through a new infrastructure financing proposal that will provide the resources needed for every liquid fuel retailer in the state to offer higher blends of ethanol within ten years.
·Addressing this challenge can result in lower prices at the pump for consumers, improved air quality for all Minnesotans, increased demand for clean-burning ethanol we already produce in Minnesota and additional economic opportunity and jobs for multiple sectors of our economy.
·This legislation will be a win-win-win solution for Minnesota corn farmers, the ethanol sector and fuel retailers that will provide multiple long-term benefits not only for the members of our associations but all Minnesotans.

Sustainability and Environmental Concerns

AgBMP Grant Program for Soil Health

·Soil health is important to farmers and provides many other benefits for air and water in addition to crop yield and farming costs.
·Interested farmers face barriers to first implementing soil health, but there is great interest and an opportunity to scale up soil health practices by providing support to farmers to get started.
·Several groups came together over a year ago to explore policy and programming on soil health that would be workable and achievable for Minnesota farmers. The group included MN Corn Growers, MN Milk, MN Cattlemen, MN Pork, Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, AgriGrowth and The Nature Conservancy.
·We worked together to come up with a bill that reflects several important principles we think will make a soil health program in MN successful: Voluntary, provides up-front financial assistance to de-risk new practice adoption, includes a wide array of practices so farmers can determine what is going to best fit their operation.
·Practices eligible for grants under this program would include a wide variety of tools, such as reduced tillage, cover cropping, manure management, precision agriculture, crop rotations, changes in grazing management, and more.
·Financial assistance would not just be limited to traditional cost-share but could also include down payments on equipment, purchases or subscriptions of equipment technology for precision ag, low interest loans, purchase of seed and amendments, or technical assistance.

Environmental Regulation and Permitting

·It is vital that we maintain farmer access to crop protection tools. Several of these tools are necessary for farmer sustainability efforts.
·We are expecting to play defense on a number of proposals around treated seeds, crop protection tools and agricultural drainage.
·The regulatory environment and environmental review requirements continue to become more of a burden on Minnesota farmers.

E15 Progress

The MCGA Farm Team also played a key role in helping a broad coalition of farm and biofuels groups bring E15 to the Twin Cities.

Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council

In 1990, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association worked to pass a statewide producer referendum that created the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. This law provided for 1/2 cent per bushel at the first point of sale, to be collected and used for the promotion, communication and research of Minnesota corn. In 2009, Minnesota corn producers passed a referendum conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to increase the state corn checkoff rate from 1/2 cent to 1 cent per bushel. This effort is targeted at creating opportunities for increased profitability for Minnesota corn.