The historic floodwaters from Hurricane Florence are creating widespread impacts across all of eastern North Carolina. Several hog farms have been affected. NC Pork Council officials are aware of one lagoon breach that occurred on a small farm in Duplin County, where an on-site inspection showed that solids remained in the lagoon. The roof of an empty barn on the farm was also damaged. There are also three lagoons at other facilities that have suffered “structural damage.” It’s not known what this damage entails. Nine other lagoons in the state have been inundated by floodwaters. This means the walls of the lagoon are intact but floodwaters have risen over the sides and filled the lagoon. The solids have remained settled on the bottom of the lagoon. According to a report from NCPC, a further 13 lagoons are at capacity due to rainfall and appear to have overtopped. Others are at capacity and efforts are being taken to respond within the state’s regulations and with its guidance. “We do not believe, based on on-farm assessments to date and industry-wide surveying, that there are widespread impacts to the … more than 3,300 anaerobic treatment lagoons in the state,” NCPC officials stated in a release. “Waters from the record-shattering storm are rising in some places and receding in others. We expect additional impacts to be reported as conditions and access allows.” The farmer association added that in the lead-up to the storm, hog producers took extraordinary measures, including moving thousands of animals out of the hurricane’s path. “The storm’s impact was felt deeply across a very large region and the approximately 5,500 swine losses reported … were the result of all aspects of the storm, including wind damage and flooding. We are saddened by this outcome.” “We do not expect the losses to increase significantly, though floodwaters continue to rise in some locations and circumstances may change. Our farmers are working tirelessly now amid persistent and severe logistical challenges to continue the delivery of feed, to ensure power is operating on farms [as many use wells for water], and to reach the barns to provide proper animal husbandry. We believe deeply in our commitment to provide care for our animals amid these incredibly challenging circumstances.”
Clinton, IA – While doing a follow-up check on manure application just north of Clinton on September 12, an official with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found manure in a tributary of Silver Creek flowing into Silver Creek and about three miles to the Mississippi River. The manure came from an overflowing storage basin at a nearby dairy operation. The dairy has hired a manure applicator to land apply manure. The basin has stopped overflowing. A DNR inspector found the basin had been overflowing for some time. An unknown amount of manure reached the creeks. There were no signs of a fish kill in the creeks. Recent heavy rains have affected some manure storage structures in the state. However, the DNR recommends that livestock producers contact the local DNR field office for help when faced with issues because of rainfall. Exploring alternatives for manure application and storage before it’s a problem is better than dealing with a manure release. The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and cleanup, and will consider appropriate enforcement action.
Green Bay, WI - State, county and Oneida Nation staff are responding to a large manure spill causing a fish kill in Silver Creek on the Oneida reservation about four miles west of Ashwaubenon. The spill occurred on a dairy farm located west of the Outagamie-Brown county line. It was reported at 1 p.m. Sept. 10 but likely started the night before. Before the source of the spill was stopped, an estimated 300,000 gallons of manure were released into a grassy waterway and into Silver Creek, a tributary of Duck Creek. The manure flowed east and most of it is in Brown County. Cleanup efforts started after the initial report and are continuing. The farm is not a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation). Oneida Nation staff is monitoring water quality with assistance from the state Department of Natural Resources. Oneida Nation staff asked DNR to assist with managing the cleanup. Dead minnow species and bluegills have been seen at multiple road crossings on Silver Creek as it flows north towards its confluence with Duck Creek, about three miles northeast of the farm. The manure plume has reached Duck Creek, field staff confirmed. Oneida Nation staff has been collecting water quality samples at several locations. DNR staff has collected bacteria samples at several locations, including the first downstream road crossing on Duck Creek. The farm contacted a sewage pumper and manure is being pumped from Silver Creek. The farm reported the spill occurred when a valve holding manure in under-barn storage failed and released most of the contents into the farm's main manure storage structure. That structure, already nearly full, overtopped and released manure onto a grassy waterway. A crew from Outagamie County responded immediately after the report and excavated a sump-collection hole in the grassy waterway leading from the farm to Silver Creek. DNR staff also responded quickly and began coordinating cleanup efforts with Oneida Nation officials.
Raleigh, NC – Hog farmers across Eastern North Carolina are making final preparations for the forecast arrival of Hurricane Florence. Farmers have taken precautions to protect animals, manage lagoons and prepare for power outages that are anticipated from the major hurricane, which is forecast to bring more than 15 inches of rain and high winds to many of the state’s largest pig- and hog-producing counties. Actions that farmers are taking include: Shifting animals to higher ground. Farmers and integrators are working to move animals out of barns in known flood-prone areas, shifting them to other farms to prevent animal mortality. Ensuring feed supplies are in place. Farmers and integrators are taking precautions to ensure ample feed provisions are on farms in anticipation of impassable roadways. Preparing for power outages. Farmers are securing generators and fuel supplies to respond to extended power outages. Assessing lagoon levels. Farmers have carefully managed their lagoons throughout the summer growing season, using their manure as a crop fertilizer. Every hog farm lagoon is required to maintain a minimum buffer to account for major flood events. Farmers across the major production areas of North Carolina are reporting current lagoon storage levels that can accommodate more than 25 inches of rain, with many reporting capacity volumes far beyond that. “Our farmers and others in the pork industry are working together to take precautions that will protect our farms, our animals and our environment,” said Brandon Warren, president of the North Carolina Pork Council and a hog farmer from Sampson County. “The preparations for a hurricane began long before the past few hours or days. Our farmers take hurricane threats extremely seriously. We are continuing this work until the storm will force us inside.” These same actions served the industry well during historic flooding brought by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Despite dire predictions from activist environmental groups, North Carolina farmers were well prepared for Hurricane Matthew when it arrived in October 2016. Even with record rainfall, only one lagoon experienced structural damage – and that was on a farm that had not housed any animals for more than five years. An additional 14 lagoons were inundated with floodwater — compared to 55 during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 — but more than 3,750 other lagoons did not experience any flooding at all. Following Hurricane Matthew, the Division of Water Resources conducted extensive monitoring of waterways across Eastern North Carolina. It reached the following conclusion: “After reviewing the data collected, and comparing that to precipitation amounts, river levels and known areas of flooding, the overall impacts of Hurricane Matthew on surface water quality were initially minimal and temporary, and the long-term effects appear to be similar to previous storms and long-term historical conditions. While many eastern North Carolina areas were inundated by floodwaters and incidents of spills, breaches or waste facility shutdowns were reported, the amount of water discharged into the river basins resulted in a diluting effect, which primarily resulted in lower than normal concentrations of various pollutants.”
Smithfield, VA – Smithfield Foods, Inc. has shared that the company is fully prepared for the potential impact of Hurricane Florence, specifically in North Carolina and Virginia. Smithfield has numerous operations, both plants and farms, and more than 14,000 employees across both states, and has enacted its hurricane preparedness procedures. Employees in the company's eastern Virginia and North Carolina plants and on its approximately 250 company-owned farms and 1,500 contract farms are taking steps to protect people, animals, and buildings against wind and rain damage. On its farms, the company has been closely monitoring and, as necessary, lowering lagoon levels in accordance with state regulations and farms' nutrient management plans, and encouraging its contract growers to do the same. Learn more about manure management here, which is an ongoing, year-round process. “The safety of our employees is top of mind and we will continue to actively monitor the storm's track and adjust production schedules accordingly,” said Keira Lombardo, Smithfield Foods senior vice president of corporate affairs. “We will also remain in constant contact with state emergency and regulatory personnel throughout the event.”
Dirty cows have a negative impact on milk quality, including greater chances of getting mastitis and a high somatic cell count. Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail, and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Since the ban on tail docking of dairy cattle, managing manure for cow hygiene is as automated as it has ever been."Automated alley scraper systems have been successfully used on livestock farms for decades to keep freestalls and cows clean," said Andy Lenkaitis, GEA product manager for manure equipment. "I work with many farmers who produce high-quality milk and have cows with long tails. They make management of their automated alley scraper systems a priority to avoid tail entanglement or animal injury." | READ MORE
Animal mortality is a fact of life, and in livestock production the challenge is dealing with the number of animals over time and their size.It is becoming more difficult to find outlets for spent animals, and cost must be considered. Mortality composting has gained in popularity over the years, but with that practice comes concerns related to nutrient management. There were several papers on animal mortality management presented at the Waste to Worth Conference held in April 2016. Craig Williams, Extension educator in Tioga County, gave two presentations on mortality composting. He worked with a swine producer wanting to switch from burial to composting. This operation had a three percent mortality rate, or approximately 250 deaths per year in the finishing operation. The producer built a compost barn with a three-foot center dividing wall. In the first year, approximately 56 cubic yards of wood chips/bark mulch was used. In the second year, this was replaced with 40 cubic yards of sawdust. The compost temperature is reaching 130 degrees, and so far there have been minimal issues in mixing and turning the compost. | For the full story, CLICK HERE. 
Years ago, it was tradition for farmers to grow a variety of crops on their farm. There was limited food distribution to large grocery stores, and most of the food was grown locally. So, a farmer could be cropping cotton and sweet potatoes in one area of their farm. On another area, graze beef cattle, dairy, or chickens on forage crops like annual clovers, perennial tall fescue, wheat pasture, and native rangeland. Pastures and hayland were rotated with crops so that the same enterprise was not on the same field year after year. Diversity of enterprises on each farm helped create stability in the production system.With the advent of large farming equipment and commercial fertilizers following World War II, it became more efficient from a labor standpoint to grow the same types of crop year after year. After investing in equipment to handle a particular crop like corn, farmers often became more specialized. This led to monoculture cropping, which can have positive effects on yields and efficiency. But, monoculture has some drawbacks, including environmental and social concerns. The need for greater nutrient inputs with monoculture can lead to poor water quality underground or from run-off. Confined operations have the issue of disposing of large volumes of manure. Interest in re-integrating farms to take advantage of the synergies between crops and livestock has increased in the past few decades. Our lab has embarked on researching such integrated systems as a way to improve agricultural sustainability.Crop-pasture rotations are part of an integrated system. Farmers can match the energy and nutrient flows of different enterprises (i.e. types of livestock and types of crops) to meet the desired outcomes. Ruminant livestock consume forages, often on pasture by themselves during much of the year. Animal manures are deposited directly on the land where they graze. Alternatively, they can be confined in areas during parts of the year with conserved forages, e.g. hay or silage. Manures can also be collected from confinement areas and applied to cropland. This recycles and effectively utilizes nutrients throughout the entire system and can substantially reduce chemical fertilizer needs for cropping.Forage grasses used for grazing often have extensive, fibrous root systems. These roots hold soil particles together. All plants take carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into simple sugars during photosynthesis. Compared with annual crops, forage grasses form a thick mat over the soil, and can enrich the amount of carbon in soil more than annual crops. Forage legumes are capable of converting nitrogen from the atmosphere and add nitrogen to the soil as well.The large gain in soil organic carbon under perennial pastures is a key benefit of integrated crop-livestock systems. Pasturing is also an important adaptation strategy to overcome drought. Pastures can partially control flooding by improving water infiltration and soil health. Forage and grazing lands have historically provided a sustainable and resilient land cover. Grazing lands are rooted by a variety of grasses and forbs that serve to provide essential ecosystem services: Water cycling Nutrient cycling Gas exchange with the atmosphere Erosion control and landscape stabilizing Climate moderation Food and feed production, and, Aesthetic experience Integrated agricultural systems have the potential to adapt to weather extremes. This can make them more climate-resilient than monoculture systems. For example, integrated crop-livestock systems rely on forages as part of a diversity of crop choices. These forages provide a large benefit for positive balance of carbon stored in soil. Crops grown in rotation with forages can be more profitable, since yields are often enhanced and costly fertilizer inputs can be lower. The presence of forages can reduce nutrient runoff and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.1The diversity of farming operations in integrated crop-livestock systems reduces the overall risk of failure. By having several different crops on a farm, the risk of any one component failing is reduced. This diversity also offers resilience of the farming system against extreme weather events and potential climate change. Greater integration of crops and livestock using modern technologies could broadly transform agriculture to enhance productivity. Integrated crop-livestock systems can also reduce environmental damage, protect and enhance biological diversity, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Integrated systems likely provide healthier potentially more diverse foods and increase economic and cultural opportunities in many different regions of the world.Diverse agricultural systems that include livestock, perennial grasses and legumes, and a wide variety of annual forages offer enhanced agro-ecosystem resilience in the face of uncertain climate and market conditions.Indeed, there are many good reasons why a diversity of crops and livestock should be produced on the same farm and even the same field within a farm.
Greenhouse gas is a significant player in climate change and Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists have developed a tool that helps mitigate agriculture's contribution.Dr. Roland Kroebel is an AAFC ecosystem modeller in Lethbridge, Alberta. Though he insists the credit is not his, Kroebel has played a key role in developing the Holos software model from the beginning to its current 3rd version. Holos helps producers green their agriculture operations by monitoring, and adjusting farming practices to lessen greenhouse gases."The idea of the model is to allow producers to play around with their management strategies and to see how that could lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," Kroebel says.Kroebel says Holos is "an exploratory tool" and that "it's meant as a gaming approach where a producer can try out different management practices that don't necessarily have to be realistic." The goal of the model is to gain understanding of the way the system reacts to management practices and is considered more of an educational tool than a decision maker.The Holos 3.0 came out in 2017. The updated version includes a partial economics component allowing farmers to monitor costs of different management practices. Kroebel says that the model is still in a basic level of complexity and his team will continue working on improvements as they receive feedback from other research groups and stakeholders.One upgrade they're looking to make is to better match the economics of the model with the greenhouse gas emissions."To give you an example, different ways of disposing of animal manure have different costs and emit different types and amounts of gas; but those costs don't factor into the value of an animal. So the costs don't discriminate in that way, but emissions do."Kroebel says they're also in frequent contact with the national greenhouse gas inventory (responsible for compiling and reporting data on Canadian greenhouse gas emissions across sectors) to ensure their algorithms are aligned."What we're trying to do there is create transparent results so that individual producers can understand how their farm system is part of the larger national and global context."On top of the producers who use Holos for their farms, Kroebel says that they are increasingly receiving requests from universities looking to bring the software into classrooms."It's a great way to demonstrate how decisions on the farm trickle through the system and have multiple effects at various stages."
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc has shown individually formulated diets can reduce the nutritional needs of the swine herd and the nutrient content of the manure produced.In an effort to reduce the overall nutrient requirements of the swine herd, scientists working in partnership with swine Innovation Porc have been developing technology designed to mix swine rations tailored to meet the specific nutritional requirements of each individual pig.Researchers have now completed the basic concepts needed to estimate daily nutrient requirements.Dr. Candido Pomar, a research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, explains in conventional systems all of the animals get the same feed so diets must be formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of the most demanding animals where as precision feeding allows the less demanding animals to be fed lower cost less nutrient dense diets. | READ MORE
What can a trench filled with woodchips do to improve water quality? The Sustainable, Secure Food blog explains bioreactors, a solution to nitrogen runoff."Denitrifying bioreactors are a low-tech, yet highly sophisticated environmental solution," says blogger Hannah Dougherty, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Their design is simple—a trench with woodchips—yet the impact is notable. Bioreactors can remove up to 45 percent of the nitrogen load in a field's drainage water.How does this happen? Dougherty explains: "Soil naturally contains bacteria and other microbes. Bioreactors enhance the natural process of denitrification–the conversion of nitrate in water to harmless nitrogen gas–performed by bacteria already present in the surrounding soil. The woodchips provide an additional fuel source for the bacteria in the form of carbon. Think of the woodchips as an extra cup of espresso in the morning!"Illinois has a goal of installing bioreactors on half of the state's tiled agricultural fields. Bioreactors' success in improving water quality is also creating interest in other states."They have great potential for expansion," Dougherty writes. "While they are not a silver bullet, they do offer important benefits in that they don't negatively impact in-field crop production."To read the complete blog, visit Sustainable, Secure Food at https://wp.me/p9gkW1-2S.This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified, professionals in the areas of growing our world's food supply, while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities and private businesses across the United States and the world.
Carpio, ND – Crop and livestock producers and others interested in composting will have an opportunity to learn more during the Manure Compost Demo Day that North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center is hosting Aug. 24 near Carpio, N.D. The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon at Bloms Land & Cattle, 7470 42nd Ave. N.W., Carpio. No registration is required. Topics that will be covered include turning manure into compost and using compost as a fertilizer. The event will also feature a compost turner demonstration and question-and-answer session on the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s animal feeding operation guidelines and creating comprehensive nutrient management plans. After that, anyone wanting to continue the discussion can meet at the Cenex C-Store in Carpio. For more information on the program, contact LoAyne Voight, an NDSU Extension agent in Renville County, at 701-756-6392 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Mary Berg, Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center, at 701-652-2951 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Des Moines, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently learned that a project to allow farmers to submit manure management plans online won an award in the 2018 national Government Experience Awards. The project was recognized in the Government-to-Business Experience category, one of six categories acknowledging how all levels of government are working to improve citizens’ interactions with their government. Historically, about 7,000 Iowa farmers had to fill out paper forms, drive miles to get them signed and leave a copy of the manure management plan at the county courthouse, and then submit the signed forms to DNR. “Our goal was to cut the time and effort it takes for farmers to submit annual plans, while maintaining the information we need,” said Bill Ehm, head of DNR’s environmental division. “Now, instead of days, they can use their smart phone to file the plan and pay fees online in minutes. That’s a tremendous savings for all involved. “The online process makes everyone’s lives easier: the producers, and DNR and county staff,” he added. “It should also be helpful for records.” The awards are presented by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policy and best practices in state and local government. California, Maryland, Texas and Utah also won in the State Government-to-Business focus area. Learn more about the eMMP, including how to submit one and the stakeholders involved in the project at www.iowadnr.gov/emmp.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it has awarded $1,164,612 to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to improve the health of Delaware's rivers and streams."This grant highlights the power of state and federal governments working in partnership to protect the natural environment," said EPA regional administrator, Cosmo Servidio. "Providing these funds directly to Delaware empowers the state to address its unique and critical environmental challenges.""Over the years, there has been vast improvement in the water quality in Delaware, but challenges still persist," said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control secretary, Shawn M. Garvin. "DNREC appreciates the ongoing partnership and funding support from EPA. This grant will support investments in cover crops, nutrient management, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), stormwater retrofits, and tree planting projects that will enhance and improve water quality statewide."The funding is provided under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes EPA to provide grants to states to implement nonpoint source pollution control programs. It will support Delaware's nonpoint source management program, focusing on watersheds with water quality impairments caused by polluted runoff. These nonpoint source control projects include a variety of structural and non-structural best management practices, monitoring, and technology demonstrations. The funding will also support outreach activities to educate the public about nonpoint source pollution.Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground water. Sources of nonpoint source pollution include urban runoff, agricultural runoff, and changes to natural stream channels.Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Section 319 enables EPA to provide states, territories, and tribes with guidance and grant funding to implement their nonpoint source programs and support local projects to improve water quality.Since 2005, this work by states has restored more than 550 impaired waterbodies nationally, which includes more than 200,000 acres of lakes and more than 10,500 miles of rivers and streams. Hundreds of additional projects are currently underway across the country.Learn more about successful nonpoint source projects at https://www.epa.gov/nps/nonpoint-source-success-stories.
Loudonville, OH — Holmes and Ashland Soil and Water Conservation Districts are hosting a meeting on August 30 at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Theater (156 N. Water St., Loudonville) to provide information and updates about winter manure management. Attendees will learn the latest information from the Ohio Department of Agriculture regarding changes to nutrient management regulations. In order to provide tools to deal with manure management, Rob Clendening with the Knox County Farm Bureau/SWCD will give a presentation about the OnMrk app for nutrient tracking and record keeping. Likewise, Dr. Libby Dayton will demonstrate the OnField! app, which explains the new Phosphorus Risk Index and what it means to producers. These tools will help farmers be proactive and informed about the risks associated with nutrient management. Pizza and drinks will be provided at no cost. Pop and popcorn will be available for purchase at the theater. RSVP to this free event by Aug. 27 by calling Ashland SWCD at 419-281-7645. Any questions can be directed to Ashland SWCD or Holmes SWCD at 330-674-2811, ext. 3.
It’s a beautiful spring day as you drive along a country road. The sun is out and your windows are rolled down when suddenly an offensive odor hits you right in the nostrils. Someone hit a skunk. What is it about this smell that makes it so offensive? Does this have any relation to the odor of livestock manure?
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding livestock producers to review changes made to standard animal weights that take effect in 2019.These new weights could reclassify some livestock farms as Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), requiring those farms to adopt new levels of compliance with nutrient management laws. | READ MORE 
Madison, WI - New rule revisions designed to reduce manure groundwater contamination, specifically in the northeast section of the state, took effect July 1.The changes, under the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, relate to Silurian bedrock, which are areas where the soil depth to bedrock is shallow and the bedrock may be fractured."The main purpose of this targeted performance standards is to reduce the risk for contamination in groundwater from manure applications on shallow bedrock soils," said Mary Anne Lowndes, DNR Watershed Management Section chief.Lowndes said Silurian bedrock soils identified in the rule revisions are dolomite bedrock with a depth of 20 feet or less. The rule targets an area in the state that may include portions of Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha counties."Within a specified area, the rule sets forth manure spreading rates and practices that vary according to the soil depth and texture," said Lowndes. "For Silurian bedrock, the most restrictive practices apply to those limited areas with the highest risk for pathogen delivery, zero to five feet in depth, and less restrictive requirements apply in areas with five to 20 feet to bedrock."Lowndes added that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Silurian bedrock areas will be required to comply with the standards in the new rule, when it is incorporated into their permit under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES), and a cross reference to the targeted performance standard language has also been added to ch. NR 243, Wis. Adm. Code., which applies to CAFOs subject to WPDES permitting. Non-permitted farms in Silurian bedrock areas will also be required to comply with the standards in the rule.Lowndes added the DNR has worked with the University of Wisconsin Department of Soil Science to offer a Silurian bedrock map (exit DNR) tool that can be used to identify areas where the bedrock soil depth is less than 20 feet, and that the department is working with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and county land conservation departments on how best to implement the new rules.The new rule is based on a long-term effort by the department to seek public input on changes to NR 151, including conducting studies, public meetings and hearings and hosting a technical advisory committee and Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup that met between 2015-2017.
The foul scent of manure is a fact of life in the country. Sometimes it smells like home. Other times the stink is bad enough to wrinkle your nose as you urgently roll up the car windows.Odor management rules are among the many regulations defining how animal farmers handle never ending piles of manure or the way it is spread on fields for fertilizer.The spread of manure by Pennsylvania farmers is regulated to keep pollutants from seeping into the air and waterways.A bill moving quickly through the state Legislature would remove an advisory panel with input on those regulations, the Nutrient Management Advisory Board, and replace it with a new panel, the Farm Animal Advisory Board, broadening the scope of oversight and changing the make-up of the members to mostly large farmers. The move minimizes the role of environmentalists, critics say. | READ MORE
Montpelier, Vermont - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM, the Agency) has issued a revised Medium Farm Operation (MFO) General Permit (GP), following a lengthy information gathering and revision process. The MFO GP sets standards for MFOs in the State of Vermont generating animal waste to ensure they do not have a discharge of waste to the waters of the State and operate in accordance with their Nutrient Management Plan. Unless otherwise given notice by the Agency, all farms meeting the definition of a MFO in the State of Vermont are required to operate under the coverage of this GP.All MFOs must follow the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) in addition to requirements outlined in the MFO GP. The revision process focused on streamlining the MFO GP with the RAPs, removing duplicative language, and increasing the focus on nutrient management plan recordkeeping for MFOs. All MFOs currently covered, or farms seeking coverage under the MFO GP, must submit a new Notice of Intent to Comply (NOIC) within 180 calendar days from the issuance of a new MFO GP.Hence, MFOs should submit a new NOIC by December 12, 2018. All forms referenced in the MFO GP, including the NOIC, can be found on the Agency's website (http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo) or by contacting the Agency Water Quality Division. These forms are subject to revision so the applicant, prior to use of a form referenced in this MFO GP, should always consult the website listed above or the Agency Water Quality Division to make sure that they are using the current version.The Agency is required to update the MFO GP every five years as outlined in MFO program rules. The current MFO GP was issued in 2012 and was therefore due for updating; the 2012 MFO GP continued in force and effect until the new MFO GP was issued. The MFO GP was established in 2007 and underwent revision for the first time in 2012. The newly revised MFO GP will be effective from 2018 to 2023.For more information about the MFO GP revision process, to find the associated MFO GP Forms, or to read the newly revised MFO GP in full, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo
Columbus, Ohio – It may not be a popular solution, but a recent study from The Ohio State University shows the least costly way to cut nearly half the phosphorus seeping into Lake Erie is taxing farmers on phosphorous purchases or paying farmers to avoid applying it to their fields.Doctoral student Shaohui Tang and Brent Sohngen, a professor of agricultural economics, conducted the study in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).At a projected price tag of up to $20 million annually, a phosphorus subsidy to Ohio farmers or a phosphorus tax would be far cheaper than many of the proposed measures being recommended to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie, Sohngen said. These proposals are estimated to cost anywhere from $40 million per year to $290 million per year, in addition to the $32 million spent on current conservation practices.Phosphorus spurs the growth of harmful algal blooms, which poisoned Toledo's drinking water in 2014 and impact the lake's recreation, tourism and real-estate values.A tax on phosphorus would be an added expense for farmers and "not many people want to talk about it," Sohngen said. "From an economics standpoint, it is the cheapest option."The money generated from a tax on phosphorus, which would be paid by farmers, could be partially returned to farmers for using conservation measures on their land. It could also compensate others affected by the water quality issue including Toledo and lake area residents to pay for improved water treatment and fishing charter businesses that lose income when algal blooms are severe.Sohngen presented the estimated costs associated with different methods of cutting phosphorus sources to Lake Erie during a recent conference hosted the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics within CFAES.Each of the options Sohngen presented is aimed at cutting the phosphorus runoff entering Lake Erie by 40 percent within 10 years, a goal the state has been aiming for but has not yet reached."If we want to achieve a 40 percent reduction, it's going to be more expensive than most people imagine," Sohngen said.Costlier options than the phosphorus tax and subsidy include reducing phosphorus application on fields by 50 percent statewide and incorporating any phosphorus into the soil so it does not remain on the surface. The price tag on that option is $43.7 million for the machinery needed to incorporate phosphorus and the incentive paid to farmers for not using phosphorus, Sohngen said.Requiring subsurface placement of phosphorus on only half the region's farmland acres would cost $49.9 million, he said.All figures were generated by a mathematical model created by Tang, working under the direction of Sohngen.In recent years, high levels of phosphorus, a nutrient in fertilizer, manure and sewage, have led to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie as well as in Ohio's inland lakes including Grand Lake St. Marys.Some measures that have been tried in the state have had little impact on reducing the phosphorus load into Lake Erie, Sohngen said. They include planting cover crops on fields during winter and refraining from tilling the land to prevent erosion."We're at the point of a phase shift, of having more information to give us better focus on where we need to turn our attention," said Gail Hesse, director of water programs for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center.Hesse, who was the keynote speaker at the conference where Sohngen presented his findings, noted that agriculture is the predominant source of the phosphorus going into Lake Erie.Climate change, including the increase in intense rainfalls over short periods, has worsened efforts to keep phosphorus out of Lake Erie because rainfall can increase the chances of phosphorus running off a field with the rainwater, she pointed out."We don't have enough practices in place across the landscape," she said. "We still have more to do."
A national manure management emergency was recently averted in the United States with the passage in March of the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, thwarting attempts by some environmental groups to categorize farms on the same plane as heavy industry as it relates to potential toxic air emissions.
Regina, Sask – Despite their reputation, flatulent cows aren’t capable of destroying the world, an environmental politics professor argues in a forthcoming research paper. But still, livestock are saddled with an outsized share of the blame for climate change. And if that misunderstanding persists, and pushes policymakers to force a societal shift from meat-eating, it could lead to disaster, says Ryan Katz-Rosene at the University of Ottawa’s school of political studies. READ MORE
Annapolis, MD – The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently addressed an appeal of a Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County decision upholding Maryland Department of the Environment permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program. Food and Water Watch and the Assateague Coastal Trust challenged Maryland’s permit restrictions both during open public comments before promulgation and in Circuit Court following the permits finalization. The United States Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to delegate Clean Water Act permitting requirements to the states. The states may promulgate regulations with a narrower scope. The issue in this case was whether MDE’s restriction was consistent with the requirements with state and federal laws, including the CWA. READ MORE
The BlueBox Ultra has been specially developed for the biological treatment of manure and fermentation residues and works the same way as a municipal wastewater treatment plant. In the bioreactor of the BlueBox Ultra, the manure is converted into water, which contains only traces of nitrogen and phosphorus and is therefore ideally suited for irrigation. Since nitrogen and phosphorus are almost completely removed, only very small surfaces are required for application. The BlueBox Ultra eliminates the need for expensive and environmentally harmful manure transports, where manure sometimes has to be transported over hundreds of miles."I no longer want to have to carry out expensive manure transports," explains farmer Jorn Ahlers, who runs a farm with a biogas plant in Lower Saxony. "I am convinced of the technology and user-friendliness of the BlueBox and I am confident that the system will go into operation on my farm this year.""In recent months, we have presented our ground-breaking manure solution to many farmers and operators of biogas plants in Germany, especially in the manure hot spots of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bavaria. The sale of the first manure treatment plant in Germany is of course an important milestone for us," says David Din, CEO of Bluetector. "Our BlueBox enables farmers to convert their manure into water with a low-cost bioreactor without the need for costly and maintenance-intensive equipment such as reverse osmosis or centrifuges."
JSE-listed Montauk Energy has struck a deal with a dairy farm in California where it will for the first time transform cow manure into natural gas.The company mainly extracts and converts methane gas from waste landfills across the US where it benefits from subsidies through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a federal programme.Montauk said it entered into a joint venture agreement with the dairy farm in July and would own and operate a manure digester and build, own and operate a renewable natural gas (RNG) facility for 20 years. | For the full story, CLICK HERE. 
In early June, Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island introduced the Carbon Utilization Act of 2018 which will incentivize emerging carbon utilization technologies, such as digesters and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) by providing increased access to USDA loan guarantees, research programs, and rural development loans. The bill will create education and research programs and encourage interagency collaboration to advance these technologies. The American Biogas Council praised its introduction as the programs within it can help farms become more resilient and sustainable.Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) said, "As we look to the future of clean energy, we must invest in innovative, secure, and low-carbon technologies—especially in rural communities. We will work to include these energy provisions in the Farm Bill to provide funding for projects that create jobs, secure our electricity systems, and combat climate change. We must ensure that rural communities are included in the clean energy economy."Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (D) added: "Experts agree that transforming pollutants into something useful ought to be part of our fight against climate change. That's why we need to help promising carbon capture and biogas technologies compete in new markets, like on farms and at other rural businesses. This bill will help those technologies find new uses in agriculture while reducing carbon and methane pollution, benefiting both our climate and the rural economy. That's a clear win-win.""We are grateful for the leadership and vision of Senators Bennet and Whitehouse in recognizing the significant benefit that biogas systems can provide our country," said Patrick Serfass, ABC's executive director. "A robust agriculture industry is essential to American prosperity. Like biogas systems help our nation's farms, the Carbon Utilization Act of 2018 will strengthen farming operations, increase sustainability and create new revenue streams to help protect family farm operations, especially during commodity price swings."
A family is turning the hog manure into methane to power the family farm, reduce greenhouse emissions and generate income.Lisa and Drew Remley of Remley Farms held an open house to unveil the new 20,000-gallon anaerobic methane digester.Power from the biodigester power will reduce the farm's $3,000-$3,500 monthly electric bill. | READ MORE
This February was the celebration of a great partnership of California dairies and California Bioenergy (CalBio).
You can think of an anaerobic digester as a big metal stomach. Biodegradables go in, get composted, and turned into energy. And now, the hope is that the waste turns into a profit.Matthew Freund, president of Freund's Farm in East Canaan, said that anaerobic digestion technology let him diversify his business. A unit built in 1997 took in cow manure and allowed him to create a new product: biodegradable seed planters called "CowPots." | READ MORE
Installation and construction are complete on a DVO Inc. anaerobic digester at Ar-Joy Farm, a dairy farm in Cochranville, Pennsylvania.This is DVO's first installation in Pennsylvania, bringing the number of states with a DVO digester to 19. Its patented digester system has also been constructed in six foreign countries.Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a collection of processes by which naturally occurring microorganisms transform waste into valuable byproducts in a controlled, oxygen-free environment.DVO's patented Two-Stage Linear Vortex anaerobic digester is unlike any other technology. Traditional AD technologies featuring above-ground tanks are inefficient and costly to operate."We are honored to be working with Marilyn and Duane Hershey (owners of Ar-Joy), a couple long admired in their community and acclaimed in the dairy industry for their advocacy and leadership. Marilyn serves as chair of Dairy Management, Inc. and in 2017 was named Dairy Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo. Duane serves on the Land O'Lakes Board of Directors," said Steve Dvorak, president of DVO. "We know they are dedicated to environmental sustainability and are proud they chose to implement DVO's digester technology."The DVO anaerobic digester processes the waste from Ar-Joy's 700 milking cows, as well as local organic waste streams. Currently the farm is adding waste from a potato chip company three times a week and is seeking additional feedstocks for the digester.The biogas generated from the waste streams is powering a 300-kW gen-set which delivers renewable electricity to the local grid. The farm has a net-metering program with its local utility which allows the farm to lower its electrical costs by off-setting the power from its electrical meters. Any excess generated power not used by the dairy is sold to the utility.The dairy is utilizing the separated digested solids for bedding, having previously bedded with sand. The digested liquid is stored in a lagoon to be applied as fertilizer on to growing crops, increasing crop yield and reducing the likelihood of nutrient runoff."The digester provides us a variety of environmental benefits, such as producing power and recycling waste. A big driver for us was the ability to expand our operation and bring in additional revenue without adding cows," explained Duane Hershey. "The community response to our digester has been real positive. When the neighbors come down and see it, they get excited. They all say we need more of these digesters on farms."Learn more about DVO's solutions for agricultural wastes and renewable energy here, http://www.dvoinc.com/
Kinston, NC - Many homes in Eastern North Carolina may now be powered by an alternative source of energy that uses a mixture of natural gas and swine-derived biogas.A switch thrown last week by Duke Energy infused methane captured from Duplin County hog lagoons into a natural gas pipeline.Optima KV is the project developer and has partnered with Duke Energy to supply the energy and Smithfield Foods to donate the land for a facility to collect the hog methane. Once collected, the gas is cleaned and injected into the natural gas pipeline to serve two Duke Energy plants in Eastern North Carolina.The project is expected to generate about 11,000 megawatts-hours of renewable energy annually, enough to power about 880 homes for a year, according to the N.C. Pork Council. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Marin County, Calif. - On one organic dairy farm, the feed truck runs on cow power."I was able to put together a fully electric truck to feed the cows that's powered by the cow's waste. We claim that's the first one in the world to do that," says Albert Straus, CEO of Straus Family Creamery in Marin County, California.When cow manure breaks down, it releases methane, a potent global warming gas. But that methane can be captured and used to make electricity. Using technology called a methane digester, Strauss has been converting his cow's manure into energy for the last 14 years. The process produces enough electricity to power the whole farm. And now, that energy is also being used to charge his electric truck. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Calgren Dairy Fuels is becoming known as a world leader in biogas production and utilization, with good reason. Of the 18 dairy digester projects that were recently awarded more than $35 million in funding by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, seven of them involve Calgren.
For a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemical and biomolecular engineering students, biogas refining isn’t just a senior design capstone project, it’s a potential means of supplying Nebraska’s rural communities with a renewable source of energy that comes from resources that are both local and plentiful.
Nutrient management plans are all but required on most large farms these days in the United States, which is why it is not so uncommon anymore for dairy farms with multiple locations to have more than one anaerobic digester to treat their raw manure.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo was held on August 15 and 16 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, South Dakota. The event showcased two days filled with the latest and greatest products and information related to manure and nutrient management. Check out event photos below! Trade show: Lil Stinker Lil Stinker Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Trade Show Lil Stinker Lil Stinker Trade Show Trade Show   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.manuremanager.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriac79ab5baad Tours and educational sessions: Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Swine Tour Education Sessions Education Sessions Education Sessions Education Sessions Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Dairy Tour Education Sessions Education Sessions   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.manuremanager.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleria5a1550b5a7 Equipment demonstrations: Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Field Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo Agitation Demo   View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.manuremanager.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=latest&layout=latest&Itemid=1#sigProGalleriad859841ac1 Visit www.manuremanager.com/manure-expo/ for more information on the event and details on the 2019 North American Manure Expo being held July 2019 in Indiana. 
Farmers who haul manure and custom manure applicators in Michigan may soon be able to qualify for significant reductions in their pollution insurance premiums by participating in a voluntary manure hauler certification program built around a successful model developed in neighboring Wisconsin.
Manure Manager strives to provide U.S. and Canadian livestock producers plus custom applicators with timely information to help them manage their businesses in the most efficient, safe and economical way possible. Whether through our printed publication, website or social media accounts, we do our best to keep you in the know about manure management issues.As a reader, we are requesting your help.Manure Manager is currently conducting an online survey and we're hoping you can find some time during your busy schedules to take part. Whether you're a dairy, beef, hog or poultry producer; a custom manure applicator, an academic or an industry support person, we want and value your feedback.The information you provide will remain confidential, secure and will help provide a snapshot of the state-of-the-industry plus provide us with valuable feedback about what you would like to see more of inside these pages or online.The survey is live now and will be available at manuremanager.com/survey until September 4 [we kept it open a few extra weeks to catch any stragglers].Everyone who takes the time to complete the survey will be entered into a draw for $500.Thank-you in advance for your valuable insights and opinions.
Bernie Teunissen recently made a major technological investment in his 3,800-cow dairy to ensure its operations will remain sustainable long into the future.Teunissen, who runs Caldwell-based Beranna Dairy with his sons Bernard and Derek, had been disposing of manure by vacuuming it into a 5,000-gallon tank, mounted on a tractor, and spreading it on their nearby farm fields.But after years of applications, the family's fields were approaching maximum nutrient limits, especially for phosphorus.To remedy the problem, Teunissen and his family installed a high-tech system that separates the solid waste from manure for conversion into a high-value - and easily manageable - compost, some of which they sell to neighbors' farms and orchards. | READ MORE
Garden pots that are made from cow manure, containing nitrogen, and biodegradable. In the northwest hills of Connecticut is a second-generation dairy farm run by two brothers, Matt and Ben Freund, who saw the potential of the idea, and made it happen.The brothers milk 300 Holstein cows with five robotic milking units. With the variable profitability of a dairy farm and increased regulations on nutrient management, Matt Freund started to look for other ways to be sustainable on their farm and to make better use of the manure that his cows were producing. | READ MORE
The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards is an opportunity for the industry to recognize how innovation and creativity sparked by one farm, one person or one organization can have a ripple effect that goes well beyond their farm gate or front door.This year, the seventh-annual awards celebration took place in Lombard, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, to honor the dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. This year's winners addressed water quality, manure management, recycling and more. | READ MORE
Pilgrim's Pride - second-largest chicken producer in the world – will face a shareholder resolution calling on the company to curb water pollution from its operations and supply chain. The demand for action comes after the company settled a citizens' suit from Environment America for $1.43 million for dumping toxic wastewater into Florida's Suwannee River."Pollution should not be a matter of pride for Pilgrims," said John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America. "Will Pilgrim's Pride clean up its coop or chicken out on its responsibility to stop fouling America's waterways?"Pilgrim's Pride operations and supply chain, which processes roughly 37 million birds per week, is responsible for significant water pollution in several states, including Texas, Florida, and Virginia. In addition to millions of pounds of manure and runoff from feed production, the company's own processing plants dump pollution directly into our rivers and streams. In 2014 alone, Pilgrim's Pride facilities dumped more than half a million pounds of toxic pollutants into U.S. waterways, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory.Investors are citing this track-record of pollution as they urge Pilgrims to adopt a corporate policy to reduce its water pollution at the shareholder meeting in Greeley, Colorado. Pilgrim's Pride is owned by the Brazil-based meat conglomerate JBS, which controls a majority of shares that will vote on resolutions at the meeting. The water pollution footprint of Pilgrims Pride and JBS combined included more than 45 million tons of manure (in 2015) and 37 million pounds of toxic discharges to waterways (from 2010-2014)."Pilgrim's Pride has a long and well-documented record of water pollution that has resulted in record fines, costly restitution of rivers and streams and negative press that has seriously compromised the brand's image," said Anna Falkenberg, representative of the Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust, the lead filer of the shareholder proposal. "Of even greater concern is the public health risk created by the company's systematic dumping of dangerous contaminants and its regular fouling of local waterways threatening communities' human right to water. Had a comprehensive water stewardship policy been adopted much earlier as shareholders have been recommending, these financial and reputational challenges could have been avoided."Last year, Pilgrim's Pride agreed to pay $1.43 million to settle a case brought by Environment America's state affiliate in Florida, which alleged 1,377 days of Clean Water Act violations since 2012, all from discharging wastewater into the river that exceeds pollution standards by as much as triple the legal limits.
Hiawatha, KS – AgJunction, Inc., a global leader in advanced guidance and autosteering, recently announced the opening of the www.HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all farmers.To launch the online store, AgJunction introduced RANGER, precision farming made simple with an easy-to-install and use guidance system for under a thousand dollars."The launch of our Hands-Free Farm online store is an exciting milestone for AgJunction as we continue to expand our vision to bring hands-free farming to every farmer," said Dave Vaughn, AgJunction president and chief executive officer. "Critical to our vision is the need to change both the method of getting product to the farmer and the level of complexity in installation and use of precision ag equipment."With the introduction of HandsFreeFarm.com, a new online buying experience has been created to sell direct to all American farmers. Customers will find the easy-to-use products, affordable prices, simple purchasing, and always accessible support that they desire, but have never had, for precision agriculture solutions.Hands-free farming represents the precision guidance, positioning, autosteering and machine control that is the foundation of any precision agriculture solution. Until now, products for hands-free farming have been sold almost universally through dealers who are best suited to support the expensive purchasing decisions, complex installation, and extensive training required for the current offerings in the market. The cost, complexity, and cumbersome purchasing process limits the reach of hands-free farming to only the largest farms despite evidence that every farmer can benefit."We are commited to bringing the benefits of precision ag to all farmers." Vaughn continued, "The HandsFreeFarm.com store is a key step in providing all farmers easy to use, low cost solutions they can easily purchase and install themselves without having to leave the farm."RANGER, an easy to use, complete GPS guidance solution priced at only $995, is the first product in the HandsFreeFarm.com online store. RANGER is ready to use right out of the box, with everything included, installs in minutes and is so simple to use customers can start farming with precision right away.The intuitive, patented steering guide shows visual cues in advance affording farmers the time to focus on farming instead of staring at a map. The system provides the essential accuracy for spraying, spreading, tilling and planting crops like soybeans and supports both straight line and free-form contours useful for terraces and irregular fields. RANGER provides farmers the flexibility to leave the field and return precisely where they left off and gives the option to share GPS location data with implements and yield monitors.Farming is a legacy to be cherished and, hopefully, passed on to the next generation. The www.HandsFreeFarm.com online store has been created to increase access to precision agriculture to ensure that every farmer can prosper through the benefits of hands-free farming.
Reading, Pennsylvania - All communities depend on clean water and that supply of clean water depends on the actions of members in the community and outside of it. The small city of Kutztown lies within the Saucony Creek watershed in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The watershed is mostly agricultural, dotted with small family crop and livestock farms, and the activities on these farms affect water supplies near and far. Saucony Creek itself feeds into Lake Ontelaunee, the water supply for Reading, Pennsylvania. Kutztown gets its water from wells that, because of the soils and geology of the area, are strongly affected by activities on the surrounding landscape.In the early 2000s, the nitrates in Kutztown's water supply were approaching the maximum safe levels for drinking water. The nitrates were related in large part to farms in the area. This situation energized a partnership of non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private entities to ensure the safety of the city's water supply, in part by helping local farmers install conservation practices that protect and improve water quality. As part of this effort, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) delivered additional funding for voluntary conservation assistance through its National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). NRCS Collaborates with Conservation-Minded FarmersFor years, dairy farmer Daniel Weaver faced challenges that made his life harder and affected water quality in his area. He hauled manure every day because he had nowhere to store it. And, his cows watered and roamed in a branch to Saucony Creek that runs through his property. This reduced the health of the stream and of his herd. That is before he formed a relationship with NRCS staff at his local USDA Service Center.With NRCS's help, Weaver was able to implement conservation practices that improve the operations of his farm in a way that also protects the ground and surface water flowing through his property. First, NRCS helped him develop a nutrient management plan for his property. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding, commonly known as EQIP, enabled him to install a manure storage tank that alleviates the need to haul manure daily. The new storage capacity allows him to control the rate and timing of manure application on his farm, which are key factors in achieving healthy soil and clean water. He also says that it has helped him save on labor and fertilizer."I think it should be mandatory for farmers to have a manure pit," he said.Streambank fencing and an animal crossing were installed to keep cows from contaminating streams and creeks that crossed their pastures and therefore the downstream rivers and lakes. In the five years since installation, vegetation has grown on the stream banks, creating a buffer for the stream and the crossing controls the cows' access, thereby limiting pathogens and nutrients from entering the water.Not too far away, Harlan Burkholder owns and operates a 100-acre row crop and beef cattle farm. He also worked with NRCS and other partners to improve water quality in Saucony Creek. When Burkholder bought his farm in 2005, manure was being stored on the ground near the creek that runs through the property because there was limited space near the barn. He had to spread manure on the fields often to keep it from piling up.Realizing that it's best to spread manure in the growing season and store it in the winter to avoid runoff, he developed a nutrient management plan. After applying for NRCS financial assistance, he worked with NRCS to co-invest in a manure storage structure. Now, Burkholder is able to store manure over the winter so he can spread it at optimal times.He is grateful for NRCS's help. "As a beginner, there's no way I could have spent money on something like this," he said.Burkholder also knows the importance of keeping soil healthy with no-till and cover crops. As a 100-pecent no-till farmer, Burkholder says, "I have no intentions of doing anything else. It's working."It's working so well that he's sharing his knowledge and experiences with other farmers.ResultsTogether, NRCS and its partners have helped more than 20 farmers in the watershed get conservation on the ground. In fact, NRCS has invested more than $2 million in targeted assistance in this area alone."The voluntary efforts of these farmers that protect the water in Saucony Creek also has a positive impact on the groundwater in aquifers beneath it," said Martin Lowenfish, the team lead for NRCS's landscape conservation initiatives. "Kutztown is home to 14,000 residents who rely on drinking water from those aquifers."And, the residents of Kutztown are taking notice. Just two years after the city's water treatment plant was updated with equipment to remove nitrates from the raw water, the plant is running at minimum capacity because the nitrate levels have been reduced by almost half thanks to the conservation efforts of farmers and ranchers upstream. Now, the treatment plant's water is within legal safe drinking water requirements and treatment costs also have been significantly reduced.This is just one impact among many that show how a little conservation can yield big results for communities downstream.
Annapolis, MD – With the spring planting season drawing near, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has launched its 2018 "Manure Happens" public education campaign to help citizens understand how and why farmers recycle manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. The 2018 campaign includes information on how farmers using different types of farming practices apply manure to their fields, along with the with the steps they must take to protect water quality in local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The ads will run in local newspapers, websites, and social media throughout the month of March."Today's consumers want to know everything about how their food is produced, including the environmental impacts of production practices," said Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. "The 'Manure Happens' campaign aims to address any concerns the public may have regarding the use of manure as a fertilizer. In upcoming weeks, you will start see—and smell—farmers spreading manure on their fields when conditions are right for spring planting. Please be considerate, and remember to share the road with our farmers when driving in farm country."Farmers using conventional farming techniques till manure into the soil. This improves nutrient retention and reduces odors for nearby neighbors. Farmers who have switched to no-till farming practices to reduce erosion and re-build their soil's health, grow their crops without disturbing the soil. These farmers apply manure to the surface of the soil and are required to install additional protections like 35-foot buffers to protect local streams from runoff.Maryland's Nutrient Management Regulations prohibit farmers from spreading manure on their fields in winter or when the ground is frozen. March 1 is the first opportunity for farmers to recycle manure generated over the winter as a crop fertilizer. To further protect water resources, Maryland farmers are required to incorporate manure into the soil within 48 hours if they are not using no-till farming practices. The department provides grants to farmers who want to try the latest liquid manure "injection" equipment. Injecting manure into the soil is more expensive than broadcasting manure, but has shown to be compatible with no-till cropping systems. In addition, Maryland's Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulations are being phased in over the next several years to help farmers who use manure as a crop fertilizer protect waterways from phosphorus runoff.The public education ads direct visitors to the department's "Manure Happens" website at: mda.maryland.gov/manure. In addition to providing citizens with information on how farmers recycle manure resources, the website offers resources for farmers who currently use commercial fertilizers and are considering making the switch to manure and farmers who sell manure resources as part of their farm's business model. The page provides links to additional resources available for farmers, including grants to transport poultry litter and manure, tax credits, technical guidance and scientific research on the benefits of manure as a crop fertilizer and soil amendment. In addition, the website includes links to Maryland's nutrient management regulations and spotlights farmers who use manure as a valuable resource.The department's 2018 educational advertising campaign includes three ads with different themes. The Odoriferous ad focuses on ways farmers work to reduce odors while spreading manure.The Style Squad ad discusses the various ways farmers work to keep manure away from waterways. In addition, the campaign's namesake ad, Manure Happens has been updated with new imagery. 
February 15, 2018, Washington, DC – Legislation strongly supported by the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and United Egg Producers was introduced Feb. 13 to exempt farmers from reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard emissions from the natural breakdown of manure on their farms. Led by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Ranking Member Tom Carper, D-Del., the bipartisan “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act” would fix a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). READ MORE
February 15, 2018, Lansing, MI – Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Agribusiness Association are hosting a meeting March 1 at Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing to introduce a manure hauler certification program. Anyone who applies manure is urged to attend. The purposes for the meeting are to present the draft version of the proposed manure hauler certification program, receive comments on the material that has been developed in support of the certification program and increase hauler knowledge of manure application. The goals of the certification program are to: Prevent manure application problems before they occur. Increase nutrient management plan implementation. Demonstrate responsible manure application. Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all applicators. The certification program consists of three tiers. Individuals who are certified at tier one have a basic knowledge of manure spill response and proper manure application techniques. Individuals achieve this level by passing a test. Once certification has been awarded, individuals will be required to take two hours of training and testing annually to retain tier one certification. Tier two certification is for anyone who supervises manure application. This level focuses on more advanced training and may include topics like odor management, using GPS in manure application, ethics and regulations. Maintaining tier two certification requires participating in a minimum of four modules over two years and showing proficiency through testing. Tier three is achieved by developing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS) plan. An EMS plan is designed to improve the day-to-day management of farm and for-hire applicator business practices with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. One of the benefits of a certification program includes a reduction in pollution insurance premiums. Since 2003, the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin (PNAAW) has partnered with the insurance industry to provide discounts for manure applicators that participate in their voluntary certification program. Due to court decisions in 2015 that decreed bacteria was a pollutant, PNAAW spent a year revamping the insurance portion of their certification program. PNAAW initially looked at a group policy, but then opted to go with individual policies in grouped pools based on the program. The new program has a strengthened auditing component by the insurance industry and provides full environmental coverage for $10 million aggregate. The new discounts average 38 percent on all insurance, except workman’s comp, for for-hire applicators. In its first year, the new program saved applicators more than $300,000. Dave Anderson with Vincent Urban Walker and Associates (Green Bay, WI) was a primary architect in designing the revamped insurance component of the certification program. He will provide more details on the insurance premium reductions offered to certified manure haulers and the third party verification process conducted by the insurance industry during the meeting. While the morning will be spent learning about the manure hauler certification program, the afternoon will be spent learning about the impact of the Lake Erie watershed on Michigan agriculture, getting a regulatory update from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and learning about manure handling and storage safety. There is no registration fee to attend the winter manure hauler meeting due to the generous financial support from Bazooka Farmstar and Bambauer Equipment. However, registration is required to ensure an accurate handout and lunch count. To register and get more details on the meeting, go to https://tinyurl.com/ManureHaulMtg. The registration deadline is February 26. If you have questions about the program, contact Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Barnes' Black and White Face Farm, lies just a quarter-mile from Lake Champlain — long plagued by phosphorus overload. Bill Barnes, like other Vermont farmers, has always been looking for ways to reduce P runoff from his fields.This spring, the Bridport, Vt., farm hosted a field trial for a promising method — injecting liquid manure into grassland to reduce runoff risk of dissolved P. A shallow-slot manure injector, purchased by University of Vermont Extension, was demonstrated on Barnes' hayfields.Barnes, who milks 1,500 cows on three farms with his son Dan, appreciates the odor reduction, plus the potential for better water quality. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Recent heavy rains in southern Minnesota finds some livestock producers scrambling to stem overflow from livestock manure storage basins. Pollution problems include overflowing manure and wastewater storage structures and releases from underground and above-ground storage tanks as well as open feedlots located in floodplains or in sensitive areas where runoff can enter surface waters.Farmers must call the Minnesota Duty Officer immediately at (800) 422-0798 (calls answered 24/7) if their manure-storage facilities overflow, if manure enters surface waters or if their manure-storage structure is inundated by floodwaters. If their manure-storage facilities are in danger of overflowing, farmers can contact the MPCA at (800) 657-3864 or (651) 296-6300 (during regular business hours) and ask for a feedlot staff person. Farmers in feedlot delegated counties also may contact county feedlot staff.To reduce the likelihood of an overflow, feedlot operators are encouraged to divert water from manure-storage facilities if possible. Manure stockpiles located in areas that could flood should be removed immediately.While we can't control weather, planning ahead helps to better deal with the impact of bad weather on manure management and land application. A little more investment in storage, conservation practices, and planning can be a very cost-effective form of insurance. It also reduces the risk of economic loss of nutrients from surface-applied manure without incorporation. Farmers with open feedlots should scrape-and-haul weekly if possible.For more information about flooding and the environmental problems it can create, visit the minimizing flood risk page on the MPCA website. Factsheet: Managing manure storage and land application during adverse weather conditions.
Hancock County, Ohio - State grant money will be used to showcase a new way for local farmers to fertilize their fields.This time of year, when cornstalks are becoming fully emerged, farmers will usually fertilize their crops with nitrogen rich fertilizer.But a new system is being demonstrated for local farmers through the Ohio State University Extension office. Manure from the farms swine barn is pumped across the field and a special arm tool on a tractor incorporates the manure directly into the soil. | READ MORE
Puck Custom Enterprises recently upgraded its trademark LightSpeed software to the improved "LightSpeed Pro." This new version brings customers remote pump control with a higher level of efficiency and ease of use.This software program was developed by PCE to enable automated pump control, whether for manure application or other fluid delivery uses. While it is an optional program for PCE customers, it syncs with the LightSpeed IQ technology that comes standard on all Puck Custom Enterprises pumps. LightSpeed IQ is the only program on the market that offers in-depth pump diagnostics and insight, and when paired with LightSpeed Pro, gives users remote monitoring and control of their pumps in almost real time.The LightSpeed technology can be operated on any tablet, phone or laptop in the cab of the applicator tractor without the need for any other hardware. It can also be outfitted and adapted to any third-party pump by PCE's service crew, giving all applicators the opportunity to adopt the high-tech system.LightSpeed Pro is the newest iteration of PCE's automated pump control software, which first launched in 2007. More than a decade later, LightSpeed Pro includes a redesign geared toward ease of use and navigation, streamlined pump control and more in-depth diagnostics, in addition to full site-mapping capabilities. This feature is particularly useful for custom applicators and row crop farmers, who are now able to set up job sites, map the location of pumps and hoses, and lay out fields within LightSpeed Pro.PCE designed and built the LightSpeed Pro and LightSpeed IQ software entirely in-house, which gives them the ability to react quickly to changes in the market and customers' needs. Compatible with nearly any connected device, it has a half-second update rate that results in near real-time visualization and pump control. Unlike many competitors' technology, LightSpeed also offers detailed diagnostics, helping applicators to find and address pump problems as they arise.According to Matt Lindemann, PCE's technology specialist, the company's 11 years of experience with pump control software has allowed them to hone LightSpeed Pro into an invaluable tool for applicators — with a 99 percent uptime guarantee."This is a great service for our customers, and helps them increase their efficiency and effectiveness in the field," said Lindemann. "We're proud to offer this technology, built by an experienced team with firsthand pumping expertise."LightSpeed Pro is developed and overseen by a PCE team with over 75 years of involvement in the industry, and even used by Puck Custom Enterprise employees on the application side of the business. As the LightSpeed Pro software becomes more robust and wide-ranging, PCE looks to continue innovating and updating its technology to meet its customers' needs and improve their efficiency on the job.
Hauling manure on Alberta roads requires operators to pay close attention to highway safety, road infrastructure and the environment. This factsheet discusses manure application equipment and road use requirements. Its purpose is to help farmers and custom manure applicators understand the impacts manure hauling equipment has on roads and bridges and the legal requirements for road access as well as providing tips and suggestions on how to minimize wear and tear on the infrastructure. | CLICK HERE
Manure irrigation is the practice of applying livestock manure to fields using irrigation equipment.In response to concerns about this practice, University of Wisconsin Extension convened a workgroup to examine the issues.The workgroup, composed of scientists, public health specialists, state agency experts, farmers, conservationists and others, spent over two years gathering and reviewing scientific information on the practice and developing their report, which includes findings, responses and recommendations. The workgroup assessed concerns associated with manure irrigation, including droplet drift, odor, water quality, air quality and airborne pathogens. They also explored potential benefits related to the timing of manure applications, road safety and reduced road damage, and other farm management and economic benefits. Join the webinar on June 15 at 2:30 to learn more about their results and implications.For more information, CLICK HERE. 
When it comes to manure, technology holds promise for the dairy industry."The goal is to improve the sustainability of how we apply and how we use manure on crops and find more value in the manure," Dr. Dana Kirk, biosystems and agricultural engineer with Michigan State University's Anaerobic Digestion Research & Education Center, said during a presentation on manure treatment technology options presented by DAIReXNET.The question is whether a dairy wants to treat its manure and, if so, what technology will work best for it. That depends on the characteristics of the manure produced, including its moisture, nutrient content and contamination, Kirk said, as well as how the farm beds and handles its manure collection and conveyance. | READ MORE
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has teamed up with the National Weather Service to design a tool that helps farmers and commercial applicators determine the best time to apply manure.The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool uses past and predicted National Weather Service weather data like precipitation, temperature, and snow melt. It predicts the likelihood that applied manure will run off fields in daily, next day, and 72-hour increments.Farmers and commercial applicators use an interactive map to locate their field and find the forecasted risk.Users can also sign up for email or text messages for their county that alert them to a severe runoff risk for that day."By providing this information, we hope to give our farmers and commercial manure applicators the tools they need to make well-informed decisions," said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. "By being able to better predict times of high runoff risk, we can decrease the potential loss of manure to our waterways and increase farm productivity by saving nutrients on the land. It is a win-win situation based on an easy-to-use tool."When someone goes to the interactive map, the runoff risk is displayed in one of four categories: no runoff expected, low, moderate, and severe. When the risk is moderate or severe, it is recommended that the applicator evaluate the situation to determine if there are other locations or later dates when the manure application could take place.The forecasting tool can also be used by others looking for climate information including two-inch soil depth temperatures which are useful at planting time, and six-inch soil depth temperatures which are helpful when determining fall fertilizer application in appropriate areas.The Minnesota Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is part of a larger federal project. The National Weather Service has provided data and guidance to states to create similar tools in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. State funding for the project was provided by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.
When spring arrives, both large and small livestock owners with pen-pack manure are looking to apply the manure as soon as field conditions allow. The nutrients and organic matter in pen-pack manure are an excellent addition to farm fields.Pen-pack manure contains the macro nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash along with a host of micronutrients. The nutrient content can vary depending on species, feed products fed, and the amounts of straw or sawdust used for bedding. The farm's manure handling and storage practices also impact the nutrient content of manure. Manure stored under roof will usually maintain a higher nutrient value than manure exposed to rainfall. | READ MORE
There is a great misconception within the global marketplace about the durability, service life cost and capacity capability of bolted steel tanks when compared to both sectional and pre-cast concrete tanks for applications within the water, wastewater, and anaerobic digestion market sectors.When correctly specified and produced, concrete can be an excellent construction material providing long service in many conditions, however, the quality and durability of a concrete tank is dependent on many factors that are often difficult to control.Consider the following:Pre-stressed concrete tanks: Bioenergy plants provide a severe environment for concrete. As these tanks enter the first, second and third decade of service, the effects of years of unprotected exposure are apparent with cracks, spalls, and leaks. The introduction of reinforcing steel created a problem affecting the durability of concrete. As rebar corrodes, concrete cracks and spalls reducing structural integrity AND allowing elements to enter into the concrete increasing the deterioration. Additionally, rust forming on rebar increases the volume (result = expansion) of the steel creating large tensile forces. Concrete cannot withstand tensile stress and it cracks to relieve the pressures. For more, CLICK HERE
Marshfield, WI - At the Healthy Soil, Healthy Water Conference, held in late-March, Doug Szemborski with Bazooka Farmstar said manure injection could be the best way to use the manure on the farm in a way that makes the neighbors happy while allowing farmers to get the most nutrient value from it.Farmers who are able to properly use the manure produced on their farms save money in fertilizer costs. Szemborski said injecting the manure into soil allows for reduced runoff and loss of nutrients, while also reducing odor from the manure due to the ammonia that causes the smell being locked into the soil during injection. | READ MORE
There has been some success with using biocovers to reduce the odors and environment-damaging gas emissions from liquid manure lagoons – and a promising new cover material that has the potential to do even more is biochar.

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