- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton will visit Worthington and Austin to promote his proposal to require farmers to leave 50-foot buffer strips along ditches, streams, ponds and lakes to improve water quality and animal habitat.

The governor holds public meetings Thursday at the Worthington Fire Hall at 10 a.m. and the Hormel Nature Center in Austin at 1:30 p.m. He’ll be joined by Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

The Minnesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Farmers Union oppose the proposal as it stands, saying it’s a one-size-fits-all approach that would impose heavy burdens on farmers, including the loss of tillable land. But it’s backed by another farm group, the Land Stewardship Project, and hunting, fishing and environmental groups.

The proposal’s fate at the Legislature is uncertain.

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