Due to confusion and uncertainty about alternative practices that would be approved for required buffer strips and what actually needs a buffer, many farm groups were hoping the Minnesota Legislature would delay the deadline to implement Minnesota's buffer law. That was not acceptable to Gov. Mark Dayton so there was no delay in implementation. With the mad rush to get agreement on budget bills at the end of the session you never know what might get slipped into one of those bills.

Warren Formo is the executive director of the Minnesota Agriculture Water Resources Center. Formo is my contact that I call when I want an update on Minnesota's buffer law. Formo said farm groups were also trying to get some language clarifying some parts of the buffer law. Unfortunately, none of that language made it into any of the bills. However, there was a grace period modification that was put into the buffer law.

The Minnesota buffer law requires buffers to be installed by this fall. However for those landowners affected, an eight-month grace period was added, which would push back any enforcement action until July 2018. The requirement is that a landowner has to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District and be working on a plan to install the required buffers. Finally, there is still some confusion about where a buffer might be required. The DNR is continually updating their maps indicating where buffers are needed. If you are not sure, get in touch with your local Soil and Water Conservation District!

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