Mapping Minnesota's conservation story

Have you ever wondered why farmers leave a wide strip of lush green grasses in certain sections of their corn fields? Do you hear the terms “no-till” or “ridge-till” and wonder what they mean? Would you like to see pictures of a real buffer strips instead of just reading about them in the news?

Or maybe you simply want to see some up-close and personal photos of on-farm conservation efforts in the Land of 10,000 Lakes?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ll want to check out “Conservation practices on Minnesota farms,” a new interactive, online story map from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) that highlights common conservation practices found on farms throughout the state.

By simply clicking on a pin located on a map of Minnesota, or using a side-photo navigation bar, users can view pictures and descriptions of the many conservation practices Minnesota farmers use to protect land, soil and water resources. The map can be viewed here.

“There’s an untold story across Minnesota’s farmland involving common, everyday conservation practices used by many Minnesota farmers,” said Noah Hultgren, a family farmer in Raymond and MCGA President. “To farmers, things like buffer strips or grass waterways are often part of everyday life on the farm. To a non-farmer with questions about how his or her food is grown, these common conservation efforts are a big deal. They want to know more about the conservation efforts of farmers, and if we don’t tell them, they might not get the complete – or accurate – story.”

There are nearly 200 photos and descriptions currently on the map. Pictures were collected from farms throughout the state, ranging as far north as Hallock all the way down to the Minnesota-Iowa border. MCGA plans to continue adding pictures until the map is completely dotted in green pins.

“It’s time for Minnesota farmers to stand up and speak out about their conservation efforts,” Hultgren said. “This map is one way to do that.”

MCGA plans to keep adding photos to the map. Details on how you can submit your own conservation photo can be found at the top of the map.

Once again, you can view the map here. Be sure to share with both your farming and non-farming friends on social media!

Meghan Doyle