Updates: Infrastructure Money, Walz Dissatisfaction Letter, Oats, and Walking the District!

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Federal Infrastructure Money

The county has contracted with Aurora Strategies to assist us in applying for Federal Grants and to lobby for federal dollars for our infrastructure projects.  Aurora Strategies works with Downs Government Affairs, a firm in Washington DC.  The Aurora/Downs group also works with other counties in Minnesota.  We will begin working with Aurora/Downs in September for the 2023-2024 Congress.  I supported contracting with a lobbying firm so that our projects will have a better chance of being funded.  The Commissioners will be working a list of projects that will be submitted for possible funding.

Letter to the Governor

The County Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Walz expression our dissatisfaction that the legislature adjourned without completing its work.  The unfinished business creates financial difficulties for the county.  Without the bonding bill, several projects are placed and will be have to pushed back a year.  The letter urged the governor to call a special session.  The commissioners also signed on to a letter sent by the League of Minnesota Cities and many other organizations and agencies also urging the governor and Legislature to convene a special session.

Farmers and Ag folks Learning about the benefit of planting Oats

A small group of farmers was introduced to the County’s Nitrate Reduction Pilot Program at a local farm.  U of M Soil Scientists, Department of Natural Resources, Regenerative Agriculture was also present.  Part of the presentation was on cost of production, comparative profits (to corn and soybeans), erosion control and soil health.  The county does not have any test plots but does use information from the Olmsted County SWCD department. (Soil and Water Conservation District).

Olmsted County is using part of its ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) allocation to create a program to reduce nitrates that are leaching into the groundwater.  The plan uses known methods of reducing nitrates:  the use of cover crops, rotating grazing land, and rotating some acreage with small grains.  I support the efforts of the Soil and Water Conservation District to reduce nitrates in the ground water and supported the use of ARPA funds to assist in this endeavor.


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