Minnesota’s Nitrogen Regulations Became Effective
Minnesota's new Nitrogen Regulations became effective on Monday June 24, 2019. Farmers call them Nitrogen Regulations however, it is really called Minnesota's Groundwater Protection Rule (GRP.) The goal of the GRP is to reduce the risk of nitrate from nitrogen fertilizer impacting groundwater in areas of Minnesota where soils are prone to leaching.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is in charge of implementing Minnesota's GRP. Beginning in 2020 applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall and on frozen soils will be restricted in areas of the state with vulnerable groundwater, such as areas with course textured soil, shallow bedrock or karst geology. In our area that means most of Dakota County because of course textured soils and in the karst geology of southeastern Minnesota.
The new GRP will have very little effect on almost all farmers. That is because they were following the nitrogen regulation before it was a regulation! For many years the University of Minnesota Best Management Practices recommended not applying nitrogen in the fall on course textured soils or in Karst regions. Research showed there was a higher chance of the nitrogen being lost if it was applied in the fall in those areas.
Following the Best Management Practices was the right thing to do environmentally but it was also the right thing to do economically! Farmers pay for the nitrogen fertilizer and we want it to be there for the corn crop. We do not want to lose the nitrogen and then pay to apply more. The way I see it the nitrogen regulation was adopted for the few "bad actors"