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Nebraska NRD Board: Lower Platte North, Dist 3

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  • Mike McGinn

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    Andrew Tonnies

Biographical Information

What steps will you take to prepare for changes in climate trends that affect Natural Resource District management?

What educational actions will you advocate for your district's students and adults regarding the changing climate?

How do you address the concerns of citizens and developers who want access to NRD projects?

Has your district tested its water for nitrate levels? If its concentration is found higher than the federal limit of 10 ppm, how would you recommended remedying the situation?

If elected, what would be your first year priorities? Please detail.

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Occupation I raise and direct market specialty cattle, hogs, chickens, fruit, vegetables from our small farm
Education High School diploma from Cedar Rapids High School, Cedar Rapids Nebraska; 2000 Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Wayne State College, Wayne Nebraska; 2004 Master of International Relations from Macquarie University, Sydney Australia; 2008
Current Public Office, dates held None
Past Public Office, dates held None
Military experience None
Volunteer experience I serve as an Elder for the United Presbyterian Church of North Bend
Address 958 County Road R North Bend, NE
Marital Status Married
Age 38
As extreme weather events become more common it is imperative that we encourage farmers to adopt practices that will help the landscape be more resilient to erosion. This includes utilizing cover crops on production fields during the off season and buffer strips on streams. These practices will increase organic matter (carbon) in crop fields, will slow down flood waters, and they will also serve to protect the soil during extreme drought.
I will advocate that during NRD education events we address that our climate is becoming more volatile and that we need to protect the soil from extreme weather events, which will in turn create positive benefits like keeping crop nutrients out of groundwater.
I am an advocate of open and transparent government, therefore, I will take special care to ensure that all voices are heard during any decision making process. Many people are not aware of all of the services and programs offered by NRDs and so I believe improving outreach to the public will yield greater interest in NRD programs.
Yes, the Lower Platte North NRD routinely tests for nitrate levels. There are some areas within the district that consistently test higher than 10 ppm. Farmers in these areas are restricted in their nitrogen applications. I would recommend that cover crops be utilized to keep crop nutrients available to crops rather than infiltrating the water table and causing water quality issues for people living in rural communities.
Water quality and quantity are big parts of what NRDs do. If these two goals are being well managed, then other big issues can also be addressed. These include soil erosion, nutrient contamination, flood control (there are already several dam projects underway in the district), and even restoring carbon to the soil from the atmosphere. My first year priorities will be to get more acres of crop ground enrolled into cover cropping programs that will help farmers find what works best for them while also finding what works best for our shared groundwater resources.