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Aggressive Agriculture Efforts Raise Minnesota Tension

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Aggressive food-growing efforts in central Minnesota are raising tensions between farming companies that say they have limited options and environmentalists who say the agricultural techniques are taking a toll on forests, wildlife and water quality.

Reports say county officials are sounding the alarm about environmental threats.

The latest case involves a 1,500-acre project in Cass County. A company called R.D. Offutt plans to grow potatoes on grounds that were covered with trees 10 years ago, and opponents fear the plan will lead to nearby waterways being contaminated by fertilizer runoff.

Offutt manager Keith McGovern says the company has every incentive to keep the aquifers clean.

But Democratic state Rep. Jean Wagenius alleges that the company’s growing methods make it almost impossible not to contaminate the groundwater.

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