Manure Manager

News
OSU Extension Service wins state honor


May 11, 2010
By Manure Manager

April 30, 2010, Corvallis,
OR – The Oregon State University Extension Service has received the
Environmental Stewardship Award from the Oregon Department of Agriculture for
its years of work helping dairy farmers protect ground and surface water.

April 30, 2010, Corvallis,
OR – The Oregon State University Extension Service has received the
Environmental Stewardship Award from the Oregon Department of Agriculture for
its years of work helping dairy farmers protect ground and surface water.

The yearly award
recognizes individuals or groups that demonstrate leadership, innovation and
creativity in implementing environmental regulations.

One of the largest
Extension programs worked cooperatively with the Natural Resources division of
the Oregon Department of Agriculture to design the Confined Animal Feeding
Operations permit program.

“It was important to
develop something a producer could easily read and understand,” said Mike
Gamroth, OSU Extension dairy specialist.

As Environmental
Protection Agency
standards change, dairy and cattle producers sometimes find
themselves suddenly out of compliance, officials say. Extension agents oversee
the EPA rules but also provide technical assistance producers need to make required
changes on their farms.

“As a fertilizer, manure
is important, but when it gets into ground and surface water it can be an
environmental hazard,” Gamroth said. “Several of us have been working on
projects with producers and regulators to help keep water clean.”

As agriculture has become
more specialized, dairy farmers have added cows but decreased their number of
crops, typically growing just feed for their cows. OSU Extension took on the
challenge of more manure and fewer fields with a research program focused on
selecting grasses that would take up more nutrients, and then determined how
much manure could be safely applied.

Their results showed
farmers could double the previous manure application standard of one and a half
cows per acre. Therefore, a farmer with 100 cows would need just 33 acres to
spread their manure, instead of 66.

“It made quite a change,”
Gamroth said. “It was an economical advantage for farmers and it gave
regulators a basis for their regulations.”

William Matthews of the
Oregon Department of Agriculture presented the award at the Oregon Dairy
Farmers Association
annual meeting in Bend. He said it was not one person or
one program that caught the attention of the award committee, but the
cumulative work of several Extension agents on multiple programs.

“Extension agents provide
a valuable function in helping producers understand the environmental
regulations – what they are, what they mean and how to comply,” Matthews said.


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