The Houston and Fillmore County Farm Bureau Federations are hosting a Water Summit on Thursday, March 9, at Stumpy’s Restaurant in Rushford from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Building on the success of the Legislators Conservation Tour held last year, the federations will review information learned from the Bridge Creek Watershed project.

There will be a segment on Common Sense Cover Cropping and an update on the latest information on buffer strips.

There will also be a review of the governor’s “Year of Water Action” and what actions farmers can take to help. “As farmers, let’s be proactive and not reactive!” the handout says.

Speakers and topics include:

• Common Sense Cover Cropping by Jim Paulson, UMN Extension – Paulson has done research with cover crops the last few years. He will cover some of the goals in using cover crops in a cropping system with the objective of less soil erosion and cleaner water. He will cover some of the key concepts and how they make sense for individual farmers to try.

• Measuring Runoff in Southeast Minnesota by Kevin Kuehner, Root River Field to Stream Partnership – How much sediment and nutrients are lost from local fields? When is it being lost? What are the relationships between what is observed from the field versus the watershed?

Since 2010, water runoff, sediment and nutrient losses have been measured at edge-of-field runoff flumes and stream monitoring stations in Mower, Fillmore and Houston counties.

Kuehner will help answer some of these questions and provide other updates relevant to this unique study.

The Root River Field to Stream Partnership is supporting intensive water quality monitoring, long-term research and a cooperative approach to engage farmers and residents in the Root River watershed.

Formed in 2009, the partnership consists of farmers, agricultural groups, industry conservation organizations, universities and state agencies.

• Year of Water Action by Warren Formo, MAWRC (Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center) – In declaring August 2016 through August 2017 as a “Year of Water Action,” Gov. Mark Dayton challenged all Minnesotans to take action to leave a legacy of clean, safe water for future generations.

What are some of the water quality challenges facing farmers in southeast Minnesota, and what specific actions can farmers take to contribute to this effort?

• Buffer Strips by Dave Weirens, BWSR (Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources) – An update about the requirements and timing for buffer strips under the new legislation. Learn about options and when a person should take action.

Questions and RSVP can be sent to Cynthie Christensen at washburn@acegroup.cc or 507-251-8465 or to Jeff Eickoff at eickhoff.jeff@yahoo.com or 507-352-4118.