I have worked for Bolton & Menk assisting clients with their agricultural and municipal drainage issues for more than 30 years. I grew up in Lakefield, Minnesota; a rural agricultural community in Jackson County. The majority of my hometown classmates were farmers who were passionate stewards of their land, protecting it from erosion and soil loss. They know that soil loss means increased fertilizer needs and lost profits. They also know that good drainage means better yields.
They all want good drainage at a fair price so that their field tiles have an acceptable outlet. My advice to students looking to support ag is: pay close attention to the current trend toward over-regulation of agricultural practices. We need to protect the family farm and protect their independence. Farmers are intelligent business people, who are experts at getting the most out of what they have been given. If change is needed, it needs to be economically encouraged rather than regulated. If change helps farmers with their bottom line, they will embrace it. Positive change is inevitable, negative change is futile. Municipal engineers have discovered that the best way to ensure a construction project is successful is by calling neighborhood meetings to inform the affected property owners of the impact of the project and to gain insight on the design parameters. The same concept applies to agricultural improvements: get the property owners involved and help them to achieve their goals through listening.