Gov. Dayton not yet on board with brewing buffer strip plan

Farm Forum

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Gov. Mark Dayton isn’t ready to back a compromise plan requiring buffer zones between farmland and Minnesota waterways.

Lawmakers, agriculture groups and the governor have worked for months to find agreement on one of Dayton’s top priorities this year to protect water from runoff. Some farmers balked at Dayton’s original proposal to require 50-foot buffers along all waterways.

A tentative agreement reached early Sunday morning would require 50-foot buffers along public rivers and lakes and a smaller setback along private ditches. Farmers would have between five and seven years to comply.

Dayton says that’s too long. He says the plan needs to be improved to get his support.

Current law requires 16 1/2-foot buffer strips along all waterways but it’s spottily enforced.