The Minnesota Buffer Law has been very controversial every since it began working its way through the Minnesota Legislature. Farmers were required by Minnesota law to take land out of production and plant a buffer strip along public waterways. The real issue or sore spot was real estate taxes. Farmers or land owners still had to pay real estate taxes as if the land producing 200 bushel corn or 60 bushel beans. It was not producing corn or beans anymore!

There was a provision in the Agriculture Bill at the Minnesota Legislature that would have covered most or all of the real estate taxes for the land put into buffer strips. However, it was vetoed by Governor Dayton. Many farmers wondered about putting the buffer strip land into the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP.) However that program had hit the cap on total acres nation wide and was not available.

Now CRP is available. Gary Kunz FSA director in Le Suseur County said they had been notified they could now take applications for CRP. It is not a general CRP sign-up, but it is limited to a couple special areas. One of those is for buffer strips. The other is for land that has expiring CRP contracts this fall. It may be possible for the land owner to get the current contract extended for one more year. So, if you have land that you had to install a buffer strip on next to a waterway check with your county FSA office.