This morning I was at the Steele County Corn and Soybean Growers annual meeting in Owatonna. There was a short business meeting and reports from our regional representatives from the Minnesota Corn Growers and Minnesota Soybean Growers associations. One of the issues that came up was the Minnesota Buffer Law. This is still a matter of contention amoung many farmers and landowners. No one disputes that buffers, where needed, are very beneficial in protecting rivers and other waterways.

There are two main issues of concern for farmers. First, what type of practices will be permitted on the buffer strips, and do all buffer strips need to be the same width? The second issue is the cost. Landowners in some cases are paying up to $70 an acre in real estate taxes. Why should they have to pay real estate taxes on the land when the state of Minnesota passed a law that denies them the use of the land?

An idea was brought up by a member of the Steele County Corn and Soybean growers who was also involved in Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. The idea was to use some of the money that was raised by the Minnesota Lottery to pay the real estate taxes of the land that needed buffer strips. I remember when the Minnesota Lottery was created we were told that the money raised would be used to benefit the environment. Buffer strips where needed improve the environment.

So why not use some of the Minnesota Lottery money? This sure sounds like a good solution to a controversial issue that has been around for about two years. I have no idea how much money is raised by the Minnesota Lottery, or who determines where it spent. But, I am going to start asking Minnesota State senators and representatives.

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