Manure Manager

Features Business/Policy Environment Regulations State Sustainability United States
DE NM commission releases 2011 annual report


April 24, 2012, Dover, DE – The Delaware Nutrient Management Commission has released its 2011 annual report, documenting the progress Delaware farmers and other nutrient handlers have made in reducing nutrient runoff.

The report, recently submitted to Governor Jack Markell and members of the General Assembly, reviews accomplishments for the fiscal year 2011, including continued implementation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations and the first full year for updated outdoor manure staging and storage regulations.

All of Delaware’s cropland and nutrient-applied land is managed under nutrient management plans developed by certified consultants.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said the report demonstrates how Delaware farmers and other nutrient handlers have adopted best management practices to help meet the state’s goals.

“Delaware farmers are committed to surpassing the challenge of excellent environmental stewardship,” Kee said. “Our farmers understand that water quality requires good nutrient management, and are always finding solutions. Their leadership and cooperation has been critical to Delaware’s achievements in this area.”

Those farmers include Jesse and Deborah Vanderwende of Greenwood’s Locust Grove Farm and Charles, Mary, Patty and Bill Leager of Greenwood’s Wood Edge Farm. The Vanderwende and Leager families were honored earlier this year with the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Awards for their work in reducing nutrient runoff. The Vanderwendes were awarded top honors, and the Leagers were first runners-up.

The Environmental Stewardship Awards recognize farmers whose stewardship and farm practices contribute the conservation of water quality and farmland, including nutrient management, best management practices, farm management, innovation, biodiversity and wildlife habitat management.

“Farm families such as the Vanderwendes and Leagers are an example of how Delaware farmers are leading the way and doing things right,” said Delaware Nutrient Management Program administrator Larry Towle. “They show how farmers truly are good neighbors, for the neighborhood and for the watershed.”

The Vanderwendes, who grow for Perdue Farms, conduct soil tests, use cover crops as a water protection measure, plant trees next to their poultry houses, use tissue sampling to assess crop nutrient needs, and built manure storage structures and concrete pads.

The Leagers, who grow for Mountaire Farms, distribute all their manure to a neighbor for application on other Greenwood-area farms. They have planted a vegetative buffer, built a manure storage facility, added concrete pads and conduct extensive recycling efforts.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Nearly 60,000 tons of poultry litter and manure were relocated from Delaware farms during the year, divided almost equally between relocation within the state for land application, relocation outside of the state for land application and to relocation to alternative use projects, such as Pennsylvania mushroom farms and Perdue AgriRecycle’s fertilizer plant near Blades. DE.
  • The Nutrient Management Program continued working with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to implement CAFO regulations. Nutrient management staff conducted inspections of 130 sites from summer 2011 until the end of the year.
  • The report also includes information from a recent University of Delaware study that concluded that there has been a statistically significant downward trend in phosphorous in manure samples tested at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the result of improvements in production practices, nutrition and genetics.

Under Delaware’s Nutrient Management Law, farmers and other nutrient handlers are required to develop and implement phosphorus limited nutrient management plans, maintain nutrient handling records, maintain nutrient certification, and submit an annual report. The law covers animal feeding operations, row crop farmers, horse operations, golf course and lawn care companies.

A copy of the report is available here or by calling (302) 698-4500.