This month the Nitrogen Smart Program for farmers enters its second year. Nitrogen Smart is an educational program developed to provide farmers with information to better evaluate nitrogen fertilizer options. It is a free program offered through a partnership between the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Corn Growers and the Minnesota Agriculture Water Resource Center. This three-hour program will be offered in eight locations around Minnesota this month. Sessions in our region include one in New Ulm at the Best Western, 2101 S. Broadway, from 9AM to noon December 14, and one in Faribault in the 4-H Building on the Rice County Fairgrounds from 9AM to noon December 22.

Water quality and nitrogen management have been getting a lot of attention the past few years. If farmers and their agronomists do not do a good job with nitrogen management, you can be sure laws and regulations will do it for us! Improper use if nitrogen is a water quality and environmental concern but, it is also an economic one too. Nitrogen is a macronutrient required for corn production. Plus, it is expensive. Farmers cannot afford to pay for it and not have it in the soil when the corn needs it. For more information, contact your local University of Minnesota Extension office.