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Legislative News and Views - Rep. John Poston (R)

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, MN -- Representative John Poston (R-Lake Shore) is adding his voice to the growing bipartisan coalition of legislators, agriculture, and other stakeholders urging Governor Dayton to compromise on changes to the state buffer law set to go into effect later this year. To date, Governor Dayton has flatly refused to even discuss changes, despite a broad coalition of farmers, agriculture groups, legislators, and others who are urging changes to make it more fair and workable for landowners and local units of government.

“Top-down mandates from St. Paul do not work for the agricultural industry in greater Minnesota,” said Poston. “I encourage the Governor to negotiate with lawmakers and local stakeholders to improve the 2015 buffer law. I have heard from numerous constituents about the need to reform this law and I stand with them.”

On Thursday, a long list of county commissioners and agriculture groups including the Minnesota Farmers Union, the Minnesota Farm Bureau, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and many others sent a letter to Governor Dayton and legislative leaders urging them to find a workable compromise citing the challenges facing farmers to meet existing implementation dates. If a compromise cannot be found on changes to the law, the groups requested at the very least that Governor Dayton delay implementation to give landowners and local governments more time to comply with buffer mandates. The letter can be found by clicking here.   

The Environment and Natural Resources Conference Committee report sent to the governor on Monday includes changes to the buffer law including:

  • Moving implementation dates to November 2019 for public waters, and 2020 for public drainage systems, to give farmers additional time to comply with requirements.
  • Clarifying that all public ditches are subject to the long-standing 16.5 foot buffer requirement -- the original intent of the legislature.
  • Preventing buffer laws from being enforced on farmers unless federal or state cost-share dollars are available to cover 100% of the cost associated with installing the buffer to ensure it does not act as an unfunded mandate.