Spring in America's heartland is often wet. That makes its soil too soft for planting. One solution to that issue is tile drainage. Growers insert a series of pipes (drain tiles) under their fields, which drains water from the soil into nearby streams and lakes.
Want to know more about your environmental footprint? Get additional information about operational costs? University of Minnesota Extension specialist, Erin Cortus and extension educators, Diane DeWitte, Jason Ertl, and Sarah Schieck are looking to work with producers in confidentially assessing their own operations using The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator - a tool developed with support from and maintained by the National Pork Board.
Manure applied to wheat crops or to forage crops can be an excellent option, but not in winter on frozen soils.
Fall is quickly approaching and harvest season is almost upon us. With that in mind, many farms will be spreading manure and pits will be agitated and emptied. Because of the still warm temperatures and high humidity, bacterial activity increases in manure, directly increasing manure gas. Manure is an excellent and readily available source of fertilizer for many farms, however, it is important to consider the danger of gas that accompanies working with manure. In June 2015, a father and son duo from Cylinder, Iowa, were both killed from manure pit gas on their Iowa hog facility (Rodgers and Eller, 2015). During a routine pumping of manure from one of the hog facility pits, the son climbed down into the pit after dropping a piece of equipment and was immediately overcome by the manure gas. His father went in after him and experienced the manure gas as well. Unfortunately, neither survived. Similarly, in 2016, a Wisconsin farmer was agitating manure in an outdoor lagoon before spreading on fields and was also overcome by manure gas (Veselka, 2016). These stories are not new and serve to remind all of us about the importance of knowing what manure gas we need to be aware of and how we should respond in emergency situations. What are the gases of concern and why are they dangerous? Four gases of major importance are ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). These gases are produced by microbial activity within the manure from the microbial respiration that occurs (rather than use oxygen for respiration, bacteria utilize inorganic sources like nitrogen and sulfur). Ammonia (NH3) gas in high concentrations can cause eye ulcerations and severe respiratory aggravation. While NH3 is typically not deadly, it is important to consider long-term exposure effects on respiratory health on those that are in proximity with it on a day-to-day basis. Just as humans can suffer respiratory effects from inhalation of NH3, other livestock are susceptible as well. In swine, at only 50 ppm, there is an expected decrease in performance and health. Additionally, long-term exposure at 300 ppm+ will cause convulsions (Donham et al., 2010). Carbon dioxide (CO2) may not appear to pose a threat like some of the other manure gases, however, it is dangerous from the perspective that it can replace the oxygen in your blood. Moderate concentrations of CO2 can lead to shortness of breath and dizziness (National Ag Safety Database, n.d.). As this is a by-product of livestock respiration, animals in confined spaces can also be affected by asphyxiation from CO2 similar to people. That being said, when examining an extension article by Donham et al. (2010), it is important to note that humans can tolerate up to 260,000 ppm+ before death, while swine can only tolerate up to 200,000 ppm. Methane (CH4) is not a concern from a human respiratory standpoint. If a building with manure storage is not ventilated properly, it can cause headaches and asphyxiation. Additionally, CH4 tends to build up in the foam that accumulates on the top of liquid manure and is highly flammable according to the Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (2012). The explosive potential of CH4 is dangerous to both people and livestock within proximity of this gas. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is the gas most often associated with manure related deaths on farms and is considered to be the most acutely dangerous (National Ag Safety Database, n.d.). This gas travels readily along the ground and in confined spaces, like manure storages. It causes paralysis of the nerve cells in the nose, which deadens the smell at only 100-150 ppm (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). At 700-1,000 ppm, there is rapid loss of consciousness and death can occur in minutes. Additionally, even if someone is exposed to high concentrations of H2S for only a short amount of time, the reaction to the gas can be delayed up to 24 hours and can include pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs) possibly leading to death. Similarly, other long-term neurological effects from H2S exposure are possible. Like its counterpart gases, NH3 and CO2, H2S is also a danger to livestock, specifically swine, in that it only takes about 20 ppm to start seeing signs of nervousness, fear of light and loss of appetite (Donham et al., 2010). When concentrations reach 200 ppm, swine may experience pulmonary edema and death shortly thereafter. What are some of the signs of being overcome by manure gases? While several signs of being overcome by manure gasses have been mentioned, there are others to be on the lookout for as well. Some of these signs include feeling hot and clammy, loss of motor skills, irregular/fast heartbeat, tightness of chest, panting, nausea/vomiting and anxiety (Meinen, 2016). How can I measure manure gases? There are several different types of manure gas monitors that can be utilized on the farm. The monitor used depends on the farm as well as the location of the manure storage and whether it is a confined or unconfined space. It is important to consider the type of gas you may come into contact with as well as the price that works in your budget. A list of the different types of manure gas monitors are depicted by Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (2012a) and the costs to purchase this equipment from the year 2011 (Steel et al., 2011). What are ways to prevent a dangerous situation? Follow manufacturer recommendations of equipment when agitating and handling manure in an enclosed pit to ensure: Proper ventilation. Fans are on and working. Equipment is operating correctly. When working around or near a manure pit: Let someone know where you are and what time you are going. This allows a person to know right where to look if you are not back in a timely manner. If someone you know or even an animal/pet is overcome by manure gas, do not go in after them unless you have proper respiratory protection. Should you encounter a situation where someone goes down and is unconscious, immediately call 911 as first responders have the proper respiratory equipment and training to enter into these dangerous situations. If it is available, wear a gas monitor or have one in the manure storage to detect manure gas concentrations that may be approaching dangerous, life-threatening levels. When manure is being agitated, be aware of your positioning to the pit and where the manure gases are likely to settle. It is also important to be cognizant of manure tankers and how easily manure gases can settle inside this type of small and confined space. Gases have a tendency to settle inside tankers as well as leak out the top, which can pose a threat to those who examine and clean the tankers. Wear personal protective equipment, like a proper fitting respiratory mask, if you go into a confined manure storage. By understanding the dangerous gases found in manure, knowing the warning signs of a person who is experiencing high concentrations of manure gases and implementing safe practices when working around manure, there is the potential for fewer accidents and deaths. Who knows, you just may save a life, maybe even your life.  
Four years ago, dairy farmer Jay Richardson and his wife, Kristi – owners of Son-Bow Farms in Northwest Wisconsin – sat down for a heart-to-heart to discuss the future of their business.
While April showers might bring May flowers, they also contribute to toxic algae blooms, dead zones and declining water quality in U.S. lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters, a new study shows.
There was a mixture of hot temperatures, high humidity plus driving rain and wind. But the weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of attendees at the 2018 North American Manure Expo.
Earthworms eat biological material in the soil to survive. Now, their abilities are being put to work by a company called BioFiltro. They are used in a controlled environment to clean liquid manure waste streams in a matter of hours where it would otherwise have taken weeks.
Add just enough fertilizer, and crops thrive. Add too much, and you may end up with contaminated surface and groundwater.Excess nutrients from farms can be transported to groundwater reservoirs by water starting at the surface and flowing through soil. But the flow of water through soil is a "highly dynamic process," says Genevieve Ali, a researcher at the University of Manitoba. "It can vary from year to year, season to season, or even rainstorm to rainstorm."It can also fluctuate depending on soil type and even if organic additions, like manure, are applied.Ali is lead author of a new study that shows water infiltrates deeper into cracking clay (vertisolic soils) when liquid hog manure is applied.The study also showed that even though water infiltration went deeper in the presence of manure, it did not reach depths of 39 inches (100 cm). That's how deep tile drains–designed to remove excess subsurface water–are typically installed in the study region."This observation challenges previous studies, which showed that cracks in clay soils can promote the travel of water and associated contaminants from the soil surface into tile drains," says Ali. "Our study suggests that not all clay-rich soils behave the same."The researchers focused on vertisols because they are present in large regions of North America. "They are common in agricultural plains, where excess nutrients may be common due to intensive farming," Ali says.But knowledge gaps remain about soil water flow in vertisols, especially with organic additions.Water can flow through soil in different ways. 'Matrix flow' occurs when water moves slowly through tiny spaces between soil grains. 'Preferential flow' takes place when water travels relatively quickly through bigger channels, called macropores, such as cracks and earthworm burrows."Imagine a bucket of sand with plastic straws inserted throughout," says Ali. "If you dumped water on this sand bucket, the water traveling through the straws would reach the bottom first."Similarly, preferential water flow through soil macropores can carry contaminants quickly from the surface down to groundwater reservoirs.Macropores are often connected to one another. "They act like a network of pipes, and they can be created or exacerbated by human activities," says Ali. "Knowing when and where there is preferential flow and how to manage land in those areas is critical to preserving groundwater quality."Clay-rich soils--such as vertisols–tend to crack, which creates macropores. "That makes these soils natural candidates to study the relative importance of matrix and preferential flow," says Ali.This study was conducted in research plots in Manitoba, Canada. Researchers added liquid hog manure to one plot but not the other. They sprinkled water mixed with blue dye on both plots to determine how water moved through the soil.In the plot where manure was applied, water reached up to 25 inches (64 cm) into the soil. In contrast, water reached up to 18 inches (45 cm) in the plot where manure was not applied. Both plots showed evidence of matrix and preferential water flow.The researchers also found that the water moving through the macropores was not completely separated from the rest of the soil."If you think back to the analogy of the sand bucket with the straws in it, the straws have a bunch of small little holes in them," says Ali. "Water can be exchanged laterally between the macropores and the surrounding soil."Lateral exchange has been reported frequently for smaller macropores in forested soils, says Ali. "But it is less common in agricultural soils where cracks tend to be larger."This study focused on a single site, so Ali says that further research is needed before generalizations can be made.Ali is also studying the role of soil cracks in spring (created by the soil freezing and thawing multiple times) versus the role of cracks in summer (created when soils become especially dry).Read more about this research in Agricultural and Environmental Letters. The research was done under the umbrella of the Watershed Systems Research Program and funded by the Government of Manitoba, as well as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant awarded to Genevieve Ali.
It’s been almost a week since Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina and some hog farmers are still dealing with challenges left over from the storm. According to a report from the North Carolina Pork Council [NCPC], some hog farmers and partner production companies are going to extraordinary lengths to care for their animals, including living in the barns for days, traveling by boat to do chores and even being shuttled to farms via helicopter. Some are also dealing with manure management problems. “While it’s clear that farmers properly managed lagoon levels in advance of the storm, a small percentage of lagoons have been impacted by the record-setting rainfalls,” the NCPC report stated. “In some cases, lagoon levels are being lowered by transferring liquids off the farm in tanker trucks or by piping to other lagoons with ample storage.” According to a Sept. 23 report from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, five lagoons in the state suffered structural damage, 32 lagoons overtopped, nine lagoons were inundated [no indication of discharges], 18 lagoons are at full capacity [have no freeboard left] and 39 lagoons have zero to 3-inches of freeboard available. “While we are dismayed by the release of some liquids from some lagoons, we also understand that what has been released from the farms is the result of a once-in-a-lifetime storm and that the contents are highly diluted with rainwater,” the NCPC stated. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sets preliminary livestock losses at 3.4 million poultry and 5,500 hogs. “This was an unprecedented storm with flooding expected to exceed that from any other storms in recent memory,” said Steve Troxler, NC Agriculture Commissioner. “We know agricultural losses will be significant because the flooding has affected the top six agricultural counties in the state. The footprint of flooding from this storm covers much the same area hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which only worsens the burden on these farmers.” The department’s environment programs and division of soil and water conservation is assisting livestock and poultry farmers with recovery to ensure environmental impacts are minimized to the extent possible. The department’s veterinary division is helping to assess risk to livestock operations and depopulation teams are on standby and are assisting producers with disposal concerns.
Ames, IA – An Iowa State University professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering has been named the new director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. Matt Helmers, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and extension agricultural engineer, began his duties on Sept. 1. Helmers succeeds Hongwei Xin, assistant dean of research for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who served as interim director since 2017. Helmers joined Iowa State in 2003. He serves as the agricultural and biosystems engineering department’s associate chair for research and extension and holds the title of Dean’s Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Dr. Helmers is well-known among Iowa farmers and water quality researchers as an exceptional scientist and a trusted source of information about nutrient management,” said Joe Colletti, interim endowed dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “His leadership of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center is a significant new chapter in addressing the goals set forth in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.” Helmers was part of the scientific team that worked on the strategy’s Nonpoint Source Science Assessment, serving as its nitrogen team chair. He served on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Agricultural Science Committee from 2016 to 2018. The Iowa Nutrient Research Center has committed $8.7 million to 76 research projects since it was created in 2013 by the Iowa Board of Regents in response to legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature. The center funds research by scientists at Iowa State, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa to address nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient losses to surface waters. They pursue science-based approaches to areas that include evaluating the performance of current and emerging nutrient management practices and providing recommendations on implementing the practices and developing new practices. Helmers is involved in research and extension and outreach activities in the areas of water management and water quality. One focus area is subsurface drainage and the impacts of agricultural management on nutrient export from subsurface drained lands. Another focus is surface runoff from agricultural areas, including the strategic placement and design of buffer systems focusing on how buffer systems can be used to minimize environmental impacts. He is faculty adviser to the Iowa Learning Farms, a partnership of farmers, non-farmers, urban residents, educators, agencies and conservationists to promote a renewed commitment to a Culture of Conservation. This year he was presented the Outstanding Achievement in Extension Award by the Iowa State College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and received its Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research in 2017. Helmers earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State in 1995; a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1997 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; and a doctorate in agricultural and biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003.
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.”
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?
Beef and dairy farmers around the world are looking for ways to reduce methane emissions in their herds and cut greenhouse gas emissions – a global priority. To help meet this goal, researchers from Canada and Australia teamed-up for a three-year study to find the best feeding practices that reduce methane emissions while supporting profitable dairy and beef cattle production.
Washington, DC – As North Carolina communities grapple with the fallout from flooding during Hurricane Florence, community groups and an allied national coalition filed a legal complaint in federal court Sept. 28, challenging a Trump administration policy that exempts animal feeding operations from having to report emissions under a federal emergency planning and right-to-know law. “The full extent of the damage to our communities is still unknown. But one thing’s clear – we need better protections for communities neighboring these operations,” said Devon Hall, executive director of the Duplin County, NC-based Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH). Duplin County, a hub of industrial pig operations, was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. “Eliminating this exemption is a simple way to help make sure my neighbors and I are better protected.” At the heart of the matter are two environmental laws – the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Both require reporting of releases of hazardous substances that meet or exceed reportable quantities within a 24-hour period in order for federal, state, and local officials to evaluate the need for an emergency response to mitigate the effects of a release to the community. Back in December 2008, the EPA published a final rule that exempted all farms from reporting hazardous substance air releases from animal waste under CERCLA. Only large CAFOs were subject to EPCRA reporting. Several citizen groups challenged the validity of the final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals and, in April 2017, the court vacated the final rule. In March 2018, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus Bill) was signed into law, a section of which – known as the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act) – amended CERCLA to exempt air emissions from animal waste at a farm from reporting under CERCLA. Accordingly, on August 1, 2018, EPA published a final rule revising the CERCLA reporting regulations to incorporate the FARM Act’s amendments to CERCLA. Based on the criteria for EPCRA release reporting, the EPA maintains that air emissions from animal waste at farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA. REACH and Sound Rivers are being represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice and are joined by Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Food Safety, Don’t Waste Arizona, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance in the complaint. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
Iowa farmers identified potential regulation as a top concern when considering water quality practices, according to a Center for Rural Affairs report recently released.Catching Waves: Farmers Gauge Risk to Advance Water Quality In Iowa, examines perceived production and social risks to adopting water quality improvement practices in Iowa."Water quality is a contentious issue in Iowa," said Katie Rock, policy associate at the Center, and author of the report. "Continued high nitrogen, phosphorous, bacteria, and sediment levels in surface waters threaten public health and outdoor recreation."The report breaks down data from a 2017 survey by the Center for Rural Affairs that polled Iowa farmers. Responding to the survey were 52 farmers representing 41 of the state's 90 counties.Results show weather and shifting climatic patterns is a top concern are the largest perceived threat to farmers' operations. Respondents identified agricultural consolidation, fluctuating commodity prices, and nutrient and soil loss as other top concerns.A majority of farmers reported they do not feel social pressure to install additional conservation practices. Beyond potential regulation, those who reported feeling this pressure identified soil health, nutrient retention, and cost savings as top reasons for new practice adoption."As Iowa continues to expand its watershed approach to water quality, understanding the needs, risks, and barriers farmers face will be critical," said Rock.These findings can help guide water quality efforts by researchers, farmers, watershed organizations, and government officials. The Center for Rural Affairs is dedicated to facilitating research-based solutions that elevate rural communities and people.For more information, and to view the report, visit cfra.org/publications/CatchingWaves.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has applauded a recent U.S. District Court after it issued an injunction affecting Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi to prevent enforcement of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Last month, Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts from Louisiana and Mississippi filed a motion asking the court to expedite their request for an injunction. The legal action was necessary after a district court in South Carolina overturned President Trump’s effort to delay the WOTUS rule so that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could prepare a replacement rule. While district courts in North Dakota and Georgia enjoined WOTUS in 24 states, the rule remained in effect in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and other states not covered by the two injunctions. “Today’s district court ruling is a win for property owners in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, sparing them from the … WOTUS rule that would allow EPA regulation of ponds, streams and puddles on private land,” Attorney General Paxton said. “By restoring principles of federalism to this area of law, the ruling is an even bigger win for the Constitution and the fundamental liberties it protects.” In 2015, Attorney General Paxton was part of a multi-state coalition lawsuit that won a nationwide stay against WOTUS in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, preventing the federal government from taking control of ponds, streams and puddles of Texas property owners. One of President Trump’s first actions in office was an executive order directing the EPA to begin the process of eliminating WOTUS. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cases litigating the Clean Water Act should be heard by federal district courts. View a copy of the injunction here.
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.
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
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.
Smithfield Foods, Inc., is pleased to announce, through the nationwide expansion of Smithfield Renewables, innovative projects designed to help meet its goal to reduce the company's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2025, which it set in concert with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). This month marks the one-year anniversary of Smithfield Renewables.
Puck Custom Enterprises is continuing to expand its international presence after partnering with two organizations to bring its manure application and agitation equipment to Serbia.
Arden Hills, MN – Land O'Lakes recently announced its plan to roll out the Truterra Insights Engine, an interactive on-farm digital platform that will help farmers advance their stewardship goals and return-on-investment in real time, acre-by-acre and help food companies measure sustainability progress. The platform will be available this year as the core tool under the new Truterra brand. The full suite of the Truterra offering aims to advance the agricultural industry's ability to enable conservation at scale across a variety of crops, commodities and commitments. "Truterra holds tremendous potential to harness stewardship to drive value by providing data-driven insights from farm-to-fork," said Matt Carstens, senior vice president of Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN. "Using the Truterra Insights Engine, farmers and food companies will have the ability to establish and report clear metrics, create customized stewardship strategies that meet farmers where they are in their sustainability journey, and use a common language for on-farm stewardship that holds meaning and value. It's a major step forward in supporting food system sustainability that starts on the farm." One of the biggest challenges in understanding and enhancing the sustainability of our food system remains a lack of comprehensive tools that can quantify economic and environmental benefits for farmers to identify farm management options. The Truterra Insights Engine, along with other technology services and tools under the new Truterra suite of offerings, will help to fill this need by providing tangible conservation options and benefits customized to every business. The Truterra Insights Engine leverages agronomic expertise and technical capabilities from a variety of contributors to enhance the value of stewardship across the supply chain. Such collaborations include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and integration of the sustainability metrics of Field to Market's Fieldprint Platform. The Insights Engine even ties into major private-sector commitments such as Walmart's Project Gigaton. For farmers and agricultural retailers, the Truterra Insights Engine will utilize soil, weather, economic, and farm management data to create customized reports showcasing the potential impacts of various stewardship practices – providing field-by-field insights, tracking against both economic performance and conservation practices. Together, the economic and environmental results will facilitate the long-term productivity and success of our farmers and food system. A key differentiator for this platform from other data tools is its design to be of value for farmers first and foremost. It was created by a farmer-owned cooperative, to be used by farmers, agricultural retailers, and agricultural experts to improve on-farm economic and natural resource stewardship. The benefits of the platform span the food value chain, but it was built to start with the farmer and deliver value back to the farm. Importantly, the Truterra Insights Engine will measure and track stewardship progress over time. In addition to helping farmers make the right choices for their business, these expanded metrics will help food companies achieve their sustainability goals – leading the industry toward a more sustainable food system. To learn more about Truterra and see the Truterra Insights Engine in action, visit www.TruterraInsights.com.
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.
This spring started cool and wet, delaying planting season, but was followed by a beautiful early summer with warm temperatures and heat units that pushed crops forward quickly. As harvest season has neared, we have been faced with some wet conditions slowing harvest.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the Oxbo International High Flotation Spreader 4103 during the equipment demonstartions, held August 15th in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the BioSpreader by Dutch Industries during the equipment demonstartions, held August 15th in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the Jamesway Max 10-52' Lagoon Pump during the equipment demonstartions, held August 15th in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the Vermeer CT718 Compost Turner during the equipment demonstartions, held August 15th in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured Zimmerman Manufacturing's Red Ziper toolbar during the equipment demonstartions, held August 15th in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the Bunning Manure Spreader during the equipment demonstartions at this year's event, held in August in Brookings, S.D.
The 2018 North American Manure Expo featured the Bauer North American Fan model PSS 1.1-300 during the equipment demonstartions at this year's event, held in August in Brookings, S.D. 
Gypsum recycled from manufacturing and construction waste has gained popularity as a bedding source for the dairy industry. Its proponents cite affordability, increased moisture absorption, low bacteria growth and soil benefits as reasons for its use.
Bazooka Farmstar announced the release of four new core products at the latest North American Manure Expo, including: The full throttle series 1,000 gallon trailer, the full throttle high reach outlaw, the 80' Infinity Series boom truck, and the NEXUS control system.
McLanahan Corporation is excited to announce the official launch of the Modular SMS12. This system, similar to others manufactured by McLanahan, separates bedding sand from dairy cow manure. The Modular SMS12 utilizes proven equipment for separating manure and sand, and is supported by a company that is an expert in this type of processing equipment.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the National Weather Service has designed a new tool for those applying manure in Minnesota called the Minnesota Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast.

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