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New mapping website helps PA farmers


July 27, 2011
By Penn State University

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paonestopJuly 22, 2011, University
Park, Pa. – Pennsylvania farmers looking to meet the state’s regulatory
requirements for erosion and sediment control and nutrient management planning
can find help at PaOneStop, an online service from Penn State Extension that
enables farmers to produce required maps of their farms.
July 22, 2011, University
Park, Pa. – Pennsylvania farmers looking to meet the state’s regulatory
requirements for erosion and sediment control and nutrient management planning
can find help at PaOneStop, an online service from Penn State Extension that
enables farmers to produce required maps of their farms.

Developed in cooperation
with the Pennsylvania Conservation Commission, the state departments of
agriculture and environmental protection, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the
National Consortium for Rural Innovations in America, and the U.S. Department
of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service
, the service is a suite
of online tools being developed for nutrient management and erosion and
sedimentation-control planning.

paonestop  
   

The first module of
PaOneStop, currently available for use, enables farmers to create maps required
for completion of nutrient balance sheets for imported manure, and nutrient
management plans as required by Pennsylvania’s Nutrient Management Act.
Additional modules, now under development, will provide conservation tools to
help farmers develop or update their own erosion and sedimentation plans.

“Recently, state
environmental regulations have been revised, increasing the number of
Pennsylvania farmers who need to complete nutrient-management plans, erosion
and sedimentation plans, and nutrient balance sheets for manure transfers,”
said Rick Day, associate professor of soil science and environmental
information systems.

“State regulations require
completion of nutrient balance sheets for manure transfers to protect water
quality,” he said. “The state conservation commission estimates that more than
50,000 nutrient balance sheets are completed annually.

“The balance sheets
require maps as part of the submission process, and that’s difficult for most
farmers – the maps and plans should include field boundaries, acreages, stream
and water features, wells, application setbacks and buffers, soils, aerial
images and more.”

PaOneStop users can access
color aerial images of their farm; outline boundaries and calculate acreages of
their fields; access Natural Resource Conservation Service soils maps and data
for fields; and record such farm features as wells, sinkholes, ponds and
streams. They also can access topographic maps, determine manure setbacks and
buffers, and produce hardcopy maps needed for regulatory compliance.

There is no charge for use
of PaOneStop and no special software required. All farm information entered into
the system is kept confidential and consultants or managers of multiple farms
can map as many farms as needed under a single login.

A PaOneStop module is
currently under development to help farmers develop erosion and sedimentation
plans, which are meant to minimize soil loss and thereby protect rivers,
streams, lakes and ponds. The new module will estimate annual soil loss for
each field under its current management system and provide tools to evaluate
alternative management practices if soil losses are too high.

It will use many of the
mapping features in the current system, so fields only need to be mapped once.

An erosion and
sedimentation plan, Day explained, is like a “mini” conservation plan and is
required in the Department of Environmental Protection’s Chapter 102
requirements. He says of Pennsylvania's approximately 59,000 farms, up to
40,000 lack current plans in compliance with DEP's Chapter 102 regulation.

“The current rate of plan
development is much too slow, partially because farmers lack tools to develop
and modify their own erosion and sedimentation plans,” he said. “PaOneStop will
increase the rate of plan development and bring more farms into regulatory
compliance.”

For many farmers, current
management systems may be acceptable and no changes will be required. However,
current regulations state that an erosion and sedimentation plan must be
completed even if current management is acceptable, so this procedure must be
done for all farms to be legally compliant with regulations.

To get started, visit the
PaOneStop website at www.paonestop.org, create a user name and password and
start mapping. For online assistance or additional information, call toll-free
1-877-722-4724, or email Rick Day (rday@psu.edu) or Bob Neiderer (rjn11@psu.edu).
Penn State Extension will be conducting training sessions on the use of
PaOneStop in the near future.

“Currently there are more
than 350 users of the system who have mapped more than 1,000 different farms,”
Day said. “We also will have numerous training events coming up.”


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