Should Minnesota get tougher on farming to reduce nitrates?

A southwestern Minnesota farmer works his fields near Luverne.

As Mark Steil’s story today pointed out, nitrates in Minnesota’s groundwater is of increasing concern. The causes can be complex but for years, farm fertilizer has been considered a prime component in the contamination, resulting as excess nutrients leach down into shallow aquifers.

At any rate, residents and municipalities are spending big money to deal with the problem.

To this point, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has urged farmers voluntarily to practice improved ways to manage the fertilizer they put on their fields. But, as Steil reports, some people think it’s time to “get regulatory” and require change in some areas. The department says it is starting to insist farmers do more.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota require some farmers to do more to reduce nitrates seeping into groundwater?