Public hearings begin on nitrogen fertilizer rule

A series of public hearings begins today on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's proposed rule on nitrogen fertilizer use.

Nitrate contamination in groundwater is a problem in some areas of the state, and agriculture officials say they're trying to prevent it from becoming worse.

The proposed rule would restrict farmers from applying nitrogen fertilizer in the fall or on frozen soils in areas of the state that are vulnerable to nitrate contamination.

That includes places where public drinking water supplies are at risk of groundwater contamination from farm runoff.

Hearings are being held in the next two weeks in Farmington, Stewartville, Worthington, St. Cloud and Park Rapids.

Some agribusiness groups have criticized the so-called Groundwater Protection Rule, and Republican legislative leaders have moved to delay its implementation.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture hopes to finalize the rule by the end of the year.

If you go: Nitrogen fertilizer rule public hearings

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is planning to hold five public hearings between July 16 and July 26.

Monday, July 16: 1-6 p.m. at Robert Boeckman Middle School in Farmington, Minn.

Wednesday, July 18: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Stewartville Civic Center in Stewartville, Minn.

Thursday, July 19: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, Minn.

Wednesday, July 25: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minn.

Thursday, July 26: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at American Legion in Park Rapids, Minn.

More information: Full text of the proposed rule, FAQ and more

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