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MORE MEETINGS: Minnesota Department of Agriculture officials will be holding informational meetings in May and June on the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule.

MDA schedules informational meetings on Groundwater Protection Rule

These meetings, while not part of the rule-making process, offer farmers the opportunity to learn about the rule, which impacts use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture have scheduled public meetings throughout the state during May and June to present information about the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule and the rule-making process.

The public meetings will be held prior to the five public hearings that will take place before an administrative law judge in July.

“The eight additional informational meetings were not required as part of the rule-making process,” says Susan Stokes, MDA assistant commissioner. “We want to ensure that everyone who wants to have input on the proposed rule understands what is in the rule, and how to participate in the rule-making process.”

MDA officials say the goal of the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule, which farmers knew as the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule, is to reduce elevated nitrate levels in groundwater and ensure that Minnesota residents have clean, safe and reliable drinking water supplies. The proposed rule, which included input from farmers and landowners to whom the rule would apply, as well as other interested persons, would regulate the use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas of the state where soils are prone to leaching, and where drinking water supplies are threatened.

The informational meetings are scheduled for these dates and Minnesota locations:

• May 30, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Northland Community and Technical College, 1101 Highway 1 E, Thief River Falls
• May 30, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Minnesota State College-Fergus Falls, 1414 College Way, Fergus Falls
• May 31, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Initiative Foundation, 405 First Street SE, Little Falls
• June 5, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Minnesota State College Southeast, 308 Pioneer Road, Red Wing
• June 6, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Kasson-Mantorville High School, 101 16th St. NE, Kasson
• June 18, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1314 N. Hiawatha Ave., Pipestone
• June 19, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Ridgewater College, 2 Century Ave. SE, Hutchinson
• June 28, 8 to 9:30 a.m., Orville L. Freeman Building, 625 Robert St. N, St. Paul

Following these informational meetings, the formal hearings required on the proposed rule will be held before an administrative law judge in July:

• July 16, 1 to 6 p.m., Robert Boeckman Middle School, 800 Denmark Ave., Farmington
• July 18, 1 to 4 p.m., Stewartville Civic Center, 105 First St. E, Stewartville
• July 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1450 College Way, Worthington
• July 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., River’s Edge Convention Center, 10 Fourth Ave. S, St. Cloud
• July 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., American Legion, 900 First St. E, Park Rapids

More information about the formal hearing and comment process is available at mda.state.mn.us/gwprhearingnotice.

To learn more about the groundwater protection rule, visit mda.state.mn.us/nfr.

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