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Fair-goers select top water conservation idea

Visitors to the State Fair got a chance to vote for the best water conservation idea submitted in the latest Idea Open Challenge, and they picked a plan that calls for experienced and retired farmers to help other farmers protect their farms as well as rivers and lakes.

The winning idea, called “Minnesota FarmWise,” creates a public-private partnership between the Mississippi National River Recreation Area and the Freshwater Society. They’ll get $15,000 to implement the idea.

The plan is to use experienced farmers to talk about water conservation with other farmers, who sometimes are skeptical of outside experts trying to change their farming methods. 

“There are many effective conservation farming practices out there that protect rivers and lakes. Lots of farmers are using them. More should,” said Peggy Knapp of the Freshwater Society. “With the FarmWise program, farmers will get good information about what will work for them, on their farms, protect and preserve their soil, while protecting Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.”

“Water is such an important issue to Minnesotans and is one that we, as individuals, can affect,” said Carleen Rhodes, president and CEO of Minnesota Community Foundation. “We were so impressed by the ideas submitted this year and are even more excited to see the winning idea become a reality. As with every Challenge, we also hope that the other high-quality ideas receive attention and are implemented.”

Other finalists in the challenge were:

  • “Are You Thirsty?” A two-person performance that uses the power of puppet and mask theater to engage the audience in asking what choices have we made about water use. In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre.
  • Canoe and Kayak Library, so more people can see water quality problems first-hand. Friends of the Sauk River.

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