MDA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Regulation

Minnesota Growers,

Below is information regarding the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) extension of the comment period on proposed nitrogen fertilizer regulation.  The MDA is seeking input and comments from the public in regards to the proposed nitrogen fertilizer program that would go into effect by the fall of 2018.  The proposed plan includes all soils in the Red River Valley on the Minnesota side, but focuses mainly on the beach ridge soil types (sandier/coarse), soils that are considered to be Vulnerable Groundwater soils in Minnesota.  One of the BMP’s (Best Management Practices) MDA is proposing, is to not allow nitrogen fertilizer applied on commercial production fields in the fall (fall is designated after August 31st) in the vulnerable soils areas.  Some concerns with this is the need to apply the full amount of nitrogen in the spring (which can reduce plant population due to higher rates of nitrogen all being applied at once), and needing 3” of tillage to work in fertilizer, which could dry out seedbeds or create lumpy soil or poor seedbed conditions.  Other concerns relate to impairing fertilizer retailers in their ability to have fewer applied acres in the fall and therefore potentially more fertilizer acreage to apply in the spring.  Equipment, logistics, ability to store fertilizer needed, and possible fertilizer price increases for fertilizer may result.

Please come prepared with your thoughts and comments on how you manage nitrogen on your farm in regards to sugarbeet production and what pitfalls you see with the proposed nitrogen management options MDA is contemplating.  The MDA is looking for public comments at these Q & A sessions and or written communications submitted by August 25th, 2017.  Please plan to attend one of these 3 public comment sessions for NW Minnesota listed below to give comments, MDA would really like to hear from producers they have stated, so please plan to attend.  Here is the link to obtain the following information:

  1. Link to a 27 page Draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule Language
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. How to provide public comment
  4. Is my field in a vulnerable groundwater area?
  5. As well as other information in regards to nitrogen an water issues/concerns

MN Department of Agriculture For Immediate Release

July 20, 2017

MDA extends comment period on proposed nitrogen fertilizer regulation

Public input sought at meetings scheduled in Northwestern Minnesota

St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has extended the public comment period for its draft proposal for the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Minnesota. The purpose of the proposed Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule is to minimize the potential for nitrate-nitrogen contamination from fertilizer in the state's groundwater and drinking water. Public comments will now be accepted through Friday, August 25, 2017.

“We’ve heard from farmers, commodity groups, and other leaders in our ag industry that more time is needed for them to weigh in on this proposal,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “We need their input and we’re going to make that extension. We’re also going to hold additional meetings in Northwestern Minnesota at the request of ag leaders and members of the public in that region.”

Public listening sessions on the draft rule will be held at the following locations: 


All comments regarding the proposed rule must be submitted in writing. After consideration of comments received, the MDA expects to publish the final draft of the rule in the fall of 2017. The rule is expected to be adopted in the fall of 2018.

Written comments on the draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule should be submitted by Friday August 25, 2017 via mail or email to:

Larry Gunderson
Fertilizer Technical Unit Supervisor
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN, 55155-2538

All comments should, but are not required to, include a contact name, phone number and/or email address to provide for follow-up discussion on specific comments.