Dennis Anderson: Minnesota Buffer Law

Star Tribune:

While Republicans in the Legislature again take aim at the state’s new stream-and-ditch buffer law, John Mages rests easy.

Mages, a past president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, farms 850 acres of good soil in Stearns County, planting corn and soybeans in spring and harvesting the crops in fall. To save topsoil and reduce overhead costs, he practices minimum tillage. And if the weather cooperates, his yields are superb: The past two years he’s averaged more than 200 bushels an acre of corn, without irrigating.

But one day last week, as Mages showed a visitor around his well-kept operation, the issue wasn’t crops but buffers. In all, he has about 30 acres of grasslands bordering waterways that either abut his croplands or run through them.