Manure Manager

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Air district approves VOC rule for CA dairies


November 3, 2010
By Western United Dairymen

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November 1, 2010 – The San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District voted recently to adopt rules
that regulate volatile organic compounds emitted by confined animal operations
in the valley.
November 1, 2010 – The San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
voted recently to adopt rules
that regulate volatile organic compounds emitted by confined animal operations
in the valley.

The district noted that
amendments to Rule 4570, first adopted in 2006, were mandated by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
, leaving the district little choice. One
significant change moves the threshold for affected dairies from 1,000 milking
cows down to 500 milking cows. The change means that 94 percent of the valley’s
dairy farms would be covered, up from 73 percent currently covered. The adopted
amendments allow affected farmers to choose from a list of practices designed
to reduce emissions from manure and other sources. For example, one change
requires careful handling of silage, hay or other crops in air-tight
conditions.

District officials said
recent research has shown that silage is a greater source of smog-forming
compounds than manure storage sites. Under the proposal, dairy farmers would
have to handle silage in a way that minimizes contact with the air

Paul Sousa, Western United Dairymen’s
environmentalist specialist, attended the meeting and reported that several
proposals pushed by environmentalists did not meet with a warm reception from
air board members. Those proposals included a ban on feeding silage and
requiring that all cows be pastured, and enclosing cattle in airtight barns
with air from the barns circulated to a bio-filter. Board members were
concerned about the high cost of implementation for dairies. In its unanimous
adoption of the rule, the air board, expressing concern that the rule could
pose too great an economic burden on dairies, added a provision directing staff
to closely monitor implementation of the rule and return to the board if
problems arise and the rule becomes too difficult for dairy operators.

Several supervisors went
out of their way to make specific positive statements in support of the dairy
industry, including Ray Watson (Kern County), Judy Case (Fresno), Mike Nelson
(Merced), Ronn Dominici (Madera County), and Steve Worthley (Tulare). Watson,
Case and Worthley all said that the industry has really stepped up to the plate
to do its job, while Dominici told of visiting dairies in his district and
personally viewing the many measures being implemented to improve the air.


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