The ground may be frozen and snow-covered, but many farmers use the winter months to learn more about what's expected in the year ahead and how their business could be impacted. In Minnesota, buffer legislation and potential nutrient management rules are among the topics catching farmers' attention. 
Meetings are being held across the state of Minnesota and around the country this winter as farmers try to zero in on the big issues that will impact agriculture in the year ahead. In Minnesota, one of those issues is dealing with water quality, buffer strips and nitrogen loss. Warren Formo is with the Ag Water Resources Center, he talks about those issues.
Formo said, "From a legislative or regulatory perspective, naturally the main ones revolve around buffer implementation and the expansion of those requirements. Others relate to agricultural drainage, we continue to see pressure on feedlots and the way they manage nutrients on fields in particular, so it's a long list and that's just on the legislative front. We also know that farmers are attempting to do all they can on nutrient management outside the realm of the regulatory process, so it makes for some very interesting discussions."
Formo says buffer strips continue to be a big issue for farmers both in compliance and in the cost of installation.
Buffers specifically, if it takes land out of production, if that was good land, that could be an issue. Regardless of the price of commodities and the potential profit of what you're growing, certainly having to conform and comply with some regulation requires a lot of paperwork and activity that doesn't really add to what you're producing on your farm, it can become quite burdensome.
I asked Formo, what advice do you give to farmers that are facing new regulations and potential regulations in the years ahead. He said number one, get involved.
Farmers are facing many challenges right now, number one of course, are low prices, number two, potentially rising interest rates. However, new and more regulations being imposed on farmers at both the state and federal level is not making it any easier.