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Comments open on farming refuge lands

LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield Wetland Management District of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft compatibility determination for the use of farming as a tool to enhance and restore grassland habitats on lands within the seven-county district -- Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville, Stearns, Todd and Wright counties.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will use the process to evaluate farming on lands of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the use of genetically modified crops -- specifically glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans, often referred to as Roundup Ready.

According to a news release from the Litchfield Wetland Management District, farming has been used as a management tool to enhance and restore grassland habitats of federal lands for many years. Cooperative farming arrangements are often used to administer programs. Generally, local producers plant and harvest designated areas. The updated compatibility determination will expand the current farming program to allow the use of genetically modified crops.

Copies of the draft compatibility determination can be obtained by calling 320-693-2849, from the website at www.fws.gov/midwest/litchfieldwetland or by emailing scott_glup@fws.gov.

Written comments will be accepted through April 12 and should be submitted to Scott Glup, project leader, at 22274 615th Ave., Litchfield MN 55355 or via email at scott_glup@fws.gov.

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