Profiles
July 20, 2017, NY - On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the New York Ag Leadership Luncheon at Empire Farm Days will honor Mike and Peter Dueppengiesser as recipients of the 2017 Agricultural Environmental Management Award.

Ag Commissioner Richard Ball is scheduled to present the Empire State's top environmental award to this third-generation family farm for their exemplary environmental management.

The brothers' Dueppengiesser Dairy Co. of Perry, N.Y., is proof that farms can grow and be both sustainable and profitable by being environmentally responsible.

They closely worked with Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District to meet the state's top (Tier 5) standards while growing their business from 110 milking cows and 750 acres in 1990 to today's 1,100-cow milking herd and 2,100 cropland acres. READ MORE 
July 19, 2017, Washington - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced July 7, an award of $1 million to the Stillaguamish Tribe for an innovative project in dairy nutrient management at Natural Milk Dairy in Stanwood.

As the lone recipient in Washington state of a nationally funded Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), the tribe proposes to demonstrate successful implementation of an emerging animal nutrient treatment system for dairy farms.

The technology, originally developed to address human waste in developing countries, is now being adapted to treat dairy nutrients. READ MORE
July 11, 2017, Oregon - A dedication to protecting the environment, maintaining good employee relations and preserving herd health has earned Louie Kazemier of Rickreall Dairy an Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

The award, now in its sixth year, is awarded for a dairy's use of sustainable practices in areas of cow care, energy conservation, water conservation, nutrient management, and business and employee relations.

Rickreall is the first dairy from Oregon to win the award. It was one of only three such awards in the country this year, and the only one west of the Mississippi River.

Kazemier, who has managed Rickreall Dairy since 1991, summed up his commitment to sustainability as a constant effort "to do the right thing."

"I believe that if we know a better way to do stuff and don't do it, I don't think we are honoring our purpose here in life," he said.

His work on the dairy, more than defining him, he said is an extension of his philosophy on life.
Among reasons cited by the U.S. Dairy Innovation Center for Kazemier's award are his philanthropic efforts to help others.

Kazemier travels regularly to Uganda to instruct dairy farmers, build housing and mentor young men. In Oregon, Kazemier built Camp Attitude, a camp for families with special-needs children.

In Rickreall, residents know him for his open-door policy, and the steps he takes to be a good neighbor.

"We are ultra-sensitive to the public," Kazemier said. "We only irrigate certain fields, certain times of the day, because of wind direction and concerns with odor. And we have an open door policy, where anybody who wants to see the dairy can come in. We bring in a minimum of 2,000 school children a year at no cost to the schools."

When it comes to the environmental improvements, Kazemier worked with Energy Trust of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade his barn lighting and parlor laundry systems, steps that have reduced his energy use by hundreds of thousands of kilowatts per year.

Kazemier's nutrient management plan involves applying only the amount of nutrients plants take up, so nutrients don't leave the soil profile. He conducts water-quality tests in a nearby creek on a quarterly basis, and takes soils tests on the farm's cropland on an annual basis, just to be sure.

Additionally, Kazemier provides neighboring farmer Scott Zeigler excess manure nutrients from Rickreall Dairy in exchange for feed, an arrangement that has proved beneficial to both parties.

Kazemier's father-in-law, Gus Wybenga, a third-generation dairy farmer who expanded and redesigned Rickreall Dairy when he purchased it in 1990, designed it with water conservation in mind. Kazemier has refined the system to capture and conserve water, and ensure that tap water is recycled at least three times before being used for irrigation.

And Kazemier has arranged with a local food processor to take excess waste water off the processor's hands, an arrangement that, again, benefits both parties.

When it comes to his 3,500 cows, Kazemier works closely with a nutritionist, a veterinarian and a herd manager to regulate and monitor herd health. And he uses computer software to track daily milk production and maintain health and treatment records.

Rickreall Dairy meets most of its feed needs through double-cropping ryegrass silage and corn silage and on the dairy's 1,100 acres of cropland. Kazemier supplements that with high-quality alfalfa hay, along with two byproducts from a local biofuel production plant, plus mineral supplements, beet pulp, cottonseed, hominy and corn grain, and the feed he gets from Zeigler Farms.

Kazemier uses composted manure solids for cow bedding, a practice that, in addition to providing a comfortable and sanitary bedding, also provides another beneficial use for dairy waste, and he has removed exterior walls to improve air circulation in the dairy's five free-stall barns.

According to John Rosecrans, the dairy's nutritionist, Rickreall Dairy cows consistently rank as an "A" herd, exhibiting high milk-production-to-feed rates, low cull rates and high pregnancy rates – all key elements in a dairy's success.

"This is one of those dairies where you can walk through the cow pens and they don't run from you, they follow you," Rosecrans said. "That tells you a lot about a farm."

Then there are the dairy's twenty-five year-round employees, workers with an average a tenure of twenty years.

"People don't quit very quickly here," Kazemier said, "and I take a lot of pride in that, because agriculture is a tough business, and my guys, they know that I've got their back if they put one-hundred percent into this job."

Indeed, cows, people, the community and the environment all seem to benefit from their association with Louie Kazemier and Rickreall Dairy.
July 7, 2017, Chicago, IL - The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farm families and importers, announced its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony.

The program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet.

From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center's strategic plan focused on social responsibility. The plan was developed by dairy community leaders in recognition of the changing consumer and customer marketplace where health, environmental and ethical practices are of increasing interest.

Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community's voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability.

"This year's winners demonstrated impressive leadership and creativity in the application of technology and other practices that protect our land, air and water," said Barbara O'Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "And, they're proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees. Based on this year's nominations, it's clear that dairy farms and companies of all sizes use sustainable practices because it's good for the environment, good for their community and good for business."

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.
Through creative problem solving, this year's winners addressed water quality, soil fertility, community outreach, energy efficiency and more.

"These award-winning practices can serve as models for other farmers, too," said Jason Bateman, dairy farmer, 2016 award winner and one of this year's judges. "Winners made breakthroughs, and they improved everyday practices. It's inspiring to see people collaborate with partners outside of dairy and build on ideas from other industries."

The 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards winners are:

Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability:

Kinnard Farms
, Casco, Wisconsin

The Kinnard family milks more than 7,000 cows — a scale that allows them to maximize cow comfort while supporting their rural community. They retain the area's young, college-educated residents by employing them to innovate farm technology. The Kinnards are often on the cutting edge; they made a first-of-its-kind sand recycling center — one that uses no freshwater in the process — to separate, wash and dry sand for repeated use. Sand is this farm's preferred bedding material because it provides comfort and sure footing for cows and is bacteria free, keeping udders healthy.

Rickreall Dairy, Rickreall, Oregon

Rickreall, Ore., residents know Louie Kazemier as a good neighbor. In fact, his relationships are the force behind his farm's frequent improvements. For example, when solids were building up in the manure lagoon, Louie initiated trade with a seed farmer to provide fertilizer in exchange for feed. He also collaborated with a local food processor to use their wastewater for irrigation. Kazemier depends on a whole-system approach to tend to what matters — and that turns out to be everything. The results are big: for one, most of the dairy's 25 employees have been there for more than 20 years.

SwissLane Farms, Alto, Michigan

This farm is 23 miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the second-largest city in Michigan. That poses both pressures from urban sprawl and opportunities to reach people several generations removed from the farm. Since 2006, SwissLane's Dairy Discovery program has taken advantage of this opportunity, offering farm tours that have reached more than 36,000 students, teachers and families. They have plenty to demonstrate when it comes to sustainable practices. After a farm energy audit, SwissLanes Dairy made improvements that reduced energy costs by 17 percent per cow. They also took steps to become verified through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.

Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability:

Glanbia Nutritionals, Evanston, Illinois

While consumers don't see the Glanbia Nutritionals brand in their grocery stores, it has a big footprint as one of the leading manufacturers of American-style cheese and whey. To implement a sustainability plan, they started with a single plant in Idaho. The team determined priority impact areas, measured social presence, determined metrics to demonstrate progress and identified areas where additional resourcing was needed. By 2016, the company had replicated this approach with three more plants and adopted a global sustainability strategy that promises to "nurture, grow and sustain the lives of our employees, milk producers, customers, consumers and communities."

Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship

Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc., Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

The Keller family participated in the Pleasant Valley Watershed Project, a collaboration among state, local and national agencies to reduce the local watershed's phosphorous load. Results were dramatic and positive. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expected to propose removing the Pleasant Valley branch from the EPA's list of sediment-impaired streams. Other farms that participated in the project saw economic benefits too, and this spurred them to form a group to build on the learnings. The Kellers, whose family has farmed the hills of Mount Horeb since the late 1840s, saw cost savings as well as environmental benefits.

Honorable Mention:

Mercer Vu Farms, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

The Hissong family needed a manure management system that allowed them to maintain their high standard of cow comfort while protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They looked at industries outside of agriculture to devise something dairy farms can replicate. They developed a system that allows them to use manure solids for cow bedding and for compost, while using phosphorus from the liquid manure as crop fertilizer in a targeted application. Their new system eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 740 cars from the road.

Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships:

Oakland View Farms & Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Caroline County, Maryland

Environmental communities and farmers haven't always seen eye to eye – especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where water quality is a significant issue. But these groups identified a common goal: improve the community's water quality through cost-effective projects that could be replicated. They did that with a woodchip bioreactor – the first of its kind in Maryland – that eliminated nitrogen from agricultural drainage water. An effective, virtually maintenance-free solution, it eliminates 48 pounds of nitrate-nitrogen from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay each year.

Honorable Mention:

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of Michigan

Michigan Milk Producers Association and Michigan State University Extension, Novi, Michigan

The benefits of milk's nutrient-dense profile have long been established. But the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) relied on lesser-known qualities to help the residents of Flint, Mich. during a crisis in which they were susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. Calcium and iron, found in dairy, can help mitigate health risks of lead consumption. Through a comprehensive partnership, 589,824 servings of milk were donated to those in need. Now there's a donation model to show this is possible in other communities affected by potential lead contamination.

Honorable Mention:

U.S. Dairy Education & Training Consortium Extension, College Station, Texas

The need for skilled agricultural professionals in the southwestern United States continues to grow, especially as universities across the region have reduced or eliminated their dairy programs. USDETC thrives today thanks to farmers and other dairy industry professionals. The goal: train animal and dairy science, agribusiness and pre-veterinary students on practical aspects of modern dairy management. Students study and visit as many different dairies, management styles and developmental stages as possible. It's all about growing participants' understanding of what a dairy operation entails so they're better equipped to lead.
June 29, 2017, Chatham, Ont. – The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative is developing innovative tools, practices and technologies to help farmers and municipalities reduce phosphorus and algal blooms in the southwestern Ontario watershed which feeds into Lake Erie. The project was officially launched at a press conference this week.

"We're determined to improve the quality of water in the Thames, and that means working with everyone from farmers to drainage engineers and conservation authorities to First Nations and universities to come up with practical, cost-effective water management and drainage solutions for both urban and agricultural areas," said Randy Hope, Mayor of Chatham-Kent and the project's co-chair.

Elevated levels of phosphorus in water that runs off agricultural fields and collects in municipal drains can trigger the growth of toxic algal blooms in downstream water bodies. The western basin of Lake Erie has experienced several such incidents in recent years, disrupting the ecosystem, causing the closure of beaches and even, in Toledo, Ohio a ban on city drinking water for two days. Lake St. Clair, which is an indirect pathway to Lake Erie, has also been experiencing problems with near-shore algal blooms.

Among the initiatives aimed at resolving the problem is a commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the U.S. to a 40 per cent reduction in the total phosphorus entering Lake Erie. There is also a commitment among Ohio, Michigan and Ontario to reduce phosphorus by 40 per cent by 2025.

"We're doing research with the goal of creating a suite of tools and practices that farmers can use to address different situations," said Mark Reusser, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (TBC). He added that the group has gathered research from around the world and is looking into how it could be applied locally.

Project partners are working to fulfill some of the recommendations made in the "Partnering in Phosphorus Control" Draft Action Plan for Lake Erie that the Canadian and Ontario governments released in March. The governments completed a public consultation in May and are expected to have a plan in place next year.

The project's new website is at www.thamesriverprc.com

The project is administered by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. It was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
June 28, 2017, Fayetteville, Ark. - Nathan Slaton, a professor in Univeristy of Arkansas's Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America.

Slaton, director of soil testing in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, evaluates soil fertility, fertilizers and fertilization strategies that promote efficient nutrition uptake by crops with emphasis on warm-season forages, such as Bermudagrass, rice, soybean and wheat production systems.

He also develops nutrient management recommendations using soil testing and plant analysis with emphasis on phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, boron and zinc; and assesses nutrient availability in poultry litter and other organic nutrient sources.

SSSA Fellow is the highest recognition awarded to soil science professionals for contributions to soil science. Slaton is one of just 12 honorees for 2016-17. He earned his bachelor's degree from Murray State University in 1986, and his master's degree in 1989 and doctorate in 1998, both from the U of A. Slaton was a divisional associate editor for SSSA from 2009-13 and has been technical editor since 2014.

He has also served as secretary, vice president/program chair and president of the Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy; and as vice president and president of the Arkansas Plant Food Association. SSSA is the largest soil-specific society in the United States.

Members advance the field of soil science and provide information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling and wise land use.


June 9, 2017, Washington, D.C. - Nominations are now being accepted for the 20th annual Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award, which is co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management magazine.

The winner will be honored at Dairy Forum 2018, January 21-24 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs in Desert Spring, Calif. Nominations must be submitted by August 25, 2017, and there is no fee to enter.

The call asks for nominations of active U.S. dairy farms that are improving on-farm efficiency through progressive management practices, production technologies and/or marketing approaches.

Nominees will be judged on current methods as well as their positioning to meet future economic and business challenges.

The award recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dairy Forum to attend a special presentation ceremony held during the program. The person nominating the winner will receive complimentary registration to Dairy Forum.

In addition, the winning operation will be highlighted in the January 2018 issue of Dairy Herd Management.

Dairy Forum is widely recognized as the most important processor and producer conference of the year for the U.S. dairy industry. The 2017 event drew an impressive crowd of more than 1,100 industry participants.  

For more information, visit: http://www.idfa.org/docs/default-source/awards-documents/2018_innovative_dairy_farmer_form.pdf?sfvrsn=e9f2caa5_2 




June 8, 2017, Linn, Kan. - Handling manure can be costly. A farm in Kansas was spending up to $90,000 each year to pick up manure solids, but now the costs have dropped significantly.

Since November of 2000, Lee Holtmeier has been managing the Linn Willow Creek Dairy LLC outside Linn, Kan. Prior to that, he'd worked 20 years for Farmland Foods buying hogs and grew up auctioneering cattle and hogs at his family's sale barn business in Nebraska. The only experience he'd had with dairy cows is when he started breeding cattle for Willow Creek Dairy when the dairy began operations in 1999.

While he didn't know some of the intricacies of dairy farming, Holtmeier did know how to manage people and spot problems. "We've changed a lot of things and moved some things around," Holtmeier says of his time at the farm the past 17 years.

One of those major changes was improving how manure was handled. Prior to 2007, the dairy was spending anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000 per year hiring dump trucks and excavators to take out the manure solids from three settling bays and three lagoons in the spring and fall. Not only was it costly, it also had a larger environmental footprint with several heavy machines being run to pick up manure. READ MORE

March 11, 2014, Twin Falls, ID – Researchers are beginning to put that principle to work to help create “designer” manures to prevent build up of macronutrients in the soil, but feed costs will limit how widely the practice is adopted.

Increasing potassium and sodium levels, which are both salts, increases the concentration found in urine but also does not impact milk content, explained Rick Norell, University of Idaho extension dairy specialist in eastern Idaho, during the UI nutrient management conference held recently. READ MORE

 

 

December 23. 2013, Stanislaus County — They have helped save endangered geese, and controlled manure and reduced water use, all the while producing food in and near Stanislaus County.

Six operations in the region are among 45 recognized statewide by the American Farmland Trust in a report called Profiles in Stewardship. The Washington, D.C.-based group highlighted efforts by farmers and ranchers to protect the environment and livestock. READ MORE
November 8, 2013 – Making plastic from renewable resources is no new feat.

But for the past six years, scientists at the University of Idaho have been working diligently to tap into one biomass resource that has yet to be exploited in the plastics industry: dairy manure. READ MORE

Customers often ask custom manure applicator Eric Dresbach to point out where he has land applied the manure from their hog or dairy farms because when they inspect the job, they can’t smell it. He takes that as a compliment.

It means that his philosophy of providing good training for staff and delivering quality service for more than 25 years is working. He believes that if applicators want to be treated like professionals, then they have to behave like professionals.

He adds that the JCB tractors, Houle honey wagons and Dietrich shanks, which he uses exclusively in his fleet to apply the manure exactly where it is needed to maximize nutrient value to crops, also deserve a lot of credit.


Dresbach owns W.D. Farms Inc, located in Circleville, Ohio, about 25 miles from Columbus. They custom apply between 30 and 40 million gallons of liquid manure annually, typically transporting the manure to fields five to eight miles from the manure source, and have worked in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Normal business radius is about 200 miles from home base. The company employs five to 10 people, depending on the time of year.


After finishing college in 1980 with a degree in agronomy from the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), a branch of Ohio State University, Dresbach began farming in partnership with his dad and brother.


“The early ’80s was a tough time for a beginning farmer, so I started a grain and fertilizer trucking company called W.D. Farms in the fall of 1985,” he says. He bought out his partner in 1995 and at that time began focusing entirely on custom manure application.


“Our specialty is liquid manure,” says Dresbach. “It can be anything from up close ‘pump and dump’ with tractors and honey wagons to where we put it in a semi, run it up the road, transfer it to a honey wagon and then apply the product. We have become a very good traveling circus because of this practice.”


The majority of the company’s business is done with hog producers. He and his staff also provide their services to the dairy industry. They typically inject hog manure and broadcast dairy manure.


Dresbach prefers to describe his company as a custom provider of “organic nutrient recycling” rather than custom manure application because this description presents manure as having value as a natural fertilizer. But he also recognizes that it requires careful management.


“We always do what is right no matter what and always assume someone is watching.” That’s the first principle that the company has posted on its website, closely followed by, “we believe in good housekeeping at all times.”


Dresbach knows that his service isn’t the cheapest among custom manure applicators in his area, and that can be a tough position to take in a weak economy with the agriculture industry struggling. But he is more interested in building a clientele of repeat customers who understand the value in his service than in racing around a field doing a mediocre job just to pad his bottom line.


“In the long run, we’re the cheaper option,” he says, “but in the short run, it’s more dollars today but you have someone who cares.” He agrees with local agriculture extension experts who say that the value of the manure depends on the quality of the application. When the manure is properly injected, the nitrogen is retained in the soil and neighbors are happy because there is minimal odor emanating from the field.


“I tell my employees that I don’t care if you are over the hill and behind the woods and you are faced with a situation where you could do it right or fast and easy,” says Dresbach. “You do what’s right.”


Dresbach is the president of the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association, representing manure haulers in Ohio and Indiana. He is also a past board member of the Great Lakes Bio-Solids Management Association (USEPA Region 5). He, his tractor operators, and two of his three teenage children who are actively engaged and interested in being part of the business, have taken training to receive their Ohio certified livestock manager licenses. The Ohio Department of Agriculture requires this license for anyone handling more than 4,500 dry tons per year or 25 million gallons of liquid manure. Dresbach’s daughter has also started college at ATI, working toward her degree in agriculture business.


W.D. Farms Inc. has a fleet consisting of three 7,000-gallon Houle honey wagons with Dietrich shanks for incorporation, pulled by 8310 and 8250 JCB Fastrac tractors. Each piece of the company’s fleet has been carefully selected for the value it brings to help W.D. Farms operate efficiently while performing quality service for customers.


“We’ve been very happy with our new 8310 JCB tractor because we get about 15 percent better fuel economy and 42 miles per hour road speed,” says Dresbach. “It’s not unusual for us to move 50 miles at a time, so the road speed is huge and the suspension improves the quality of life for the operators.”


The company has been using Houle honey wagons for about 16 years and staff appreciate the suspension-less steering system on the wagons. Dresbach describes it as a hydraulically captured loop system on the three-axle wagons, which allows it to roll over the terrain better, keeping the load more level and thus avoiding a weight shift to a single axle. This reduces breakage and the likelihood of putting a 40,000-pound load on one axle.


“It also rides a lot smoother,” says Dresbach. “Combined with the suspension that is also on the tractor, when you come across a rise or a bump, it won’t even chatter. We don’t have drawbar wear and it’s an operator comfort issue.”


Also, Dresbach says, with the honey wagons’ front and rear axles that can turn when traveling down the road, the wagons do practically no damage to roads compared to wagons on a fixed-axle system, which sometimes skid especially on turns. This also contributes to reduce wear and tear on their wagons. They’ve had two axle issues in 16 years with the Houle honey wagons.


The hydraulic braking system on the tractor is also tied to the braking system on the honey wagon, resulting in improved safety.


Behind the honey wagons, W.D. Farms pulls custom-built, nine shank incorporators with Dietrich manure injection systems. The amount that the company is able to apply, given the length of their incorporation system has a definite impact on the bottom line, as they are paid by the number of gallons applied.


“Other tanker wagon companies are typically pulling only four or five shanks at 12 or 14 feet, but we are pulling nine shanks at 22.5 feet,” says Dresbach, which means that they can apply more manure in the same amount of time. The honey wagons are also equipped with a custom-built transfer system to pump the liquid manure from the semi-trailer trucks to the wagons.


Dresbach has high praise for the Dietrich shanks, which shatter and fluff the soil and allow the manure to be applied exactly where it is needed.


“We have very little manure showing on the surface,” says Dresbach. “It’s in the right place and undercover so that it doesn’t run off. That’s the only shank I will run.”


The company’s fleet also consists of a 9220 John Deere tractor and four semi-trailer trucks with double conical tanks for long distance transport. Using this type of tank on each semi means it has a lower center of gravity, making transport more stable and the solids flow out of the tank from a lower centralized point. Dresbach says it is easier to keep the tanks clean, especially when transporting material with high solids content.


They also have a VMI dredge to recover valuable solid nutrients from the bottom of lagoons. It is a valuable organic fertilizer because it can be up to five times richer in nutrients than standard hog manure. This piece of equipment is also helpful to remove settled sand in dairy lagoons, as more dairies move toward sand bedding for their animals.


Rounding out the fleet is a collection of Houle, Godwin and Cornell agitation and transfer pumps.


Dresbach says he has chosen to build his business around a tanker fleet because many of his customers, particularly dairy farmers, don’t own extra cropland next to their farms where the liquid manure could be land applied. That area of the United States in particular has attracted many dairy farmers from the Netherlands who are focused specifically on their dairy operations. Many have purchased 70 acres of land and have established a 2,000-cow dairy on that piece of land, which means that they must negotiate with other landowners to land apply their manure. In this case, a drag hose system would only be part of the solution because liquid manure often needs to be transported several miles away for application, and the farms where it is applied tend to be a collection of several smaller parcels of land. In fact, that is a big part of Dresbach’s business – facilitating a dialogue between the hog or dairy farms and crop growers to arrange for custom application of the manure, which he says can be one of the most challenging parts of his job.


“You have to get all parties on board on timing, rates, and financial contributions from both sides to pay my bill,” says Dresbach.


Dresbach says that his hog producer clients tend to recycle their manure generally on their own cropland as organic fertilizer. Most are contract growers who have attached a hog operation to their corn crop business to add another income stream to their farm. When a situation arises where some of the manure can be transported short distances, W.D. Farms will partner with a colleague who operates a drag hose system. 

June 20, 2012 – On the afternoon of May 23, 2012, a quiet 14-year-old Peach Bottom, PA, boy named Cleason Nolt somehow slipped into a liquid manure pit where he was working on a large Kennedyville, Md., dairy farm and died.

Cleason’s 18-year-old brother, Kelvin, and 48-year-old father, Glenn, who were agitating and pumping the lagoon, also vanished into the pit.

A family member who drove to the scene that evening after the Nolts failed to respond to cellphone calls found only a parked pickup truck and two tractors, their engines switched on.

The three bodies were recovered the next day. READ MORE

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