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August 8, 2017, Celina, OH – About 40 area developers, politicians, farmers and business leaders gathered July 29 for the Our Land, Our Water Tour to learn more about land and manure-management efforts that could help improve Grand Lake's water quality.

The event was hosted at Schmitmeyer Farm near Coldwater and was the second annual tour and presentation meant to bring together local people from all walks of life and educate them on efforts to improve the lake. READ MORE

July 26, 2017, Des Moines, IA - As one of 12 legislators who drafted the bill in 2002 that created the Master Matrix, a current member of the Floyd County Board of Supervisors tasked with reviewing Master Matrix applications, and a lifelong Iowa farmer, I have a unique perspective on the Master Matrix, its failings and how it could be improved.

I support the recent petition presented by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food & Water Watch because it is needed to restore balance to a system that has failed to adequately protect the rights of all Iowans, and certain precious natural resources unique to different counties, such as Karst topography in northeast Iowa.

The Master Matrix is a scoring system that awards points for livestock producers who adopt additional practices greater than the minimum required by state law.

Points are awarded for increasing the minimum separated distances between concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and churches, residences, public-use areas, and bodies of water. More restrictive manure management practices score additional points. The Master Matrix has a total of 44 questions that could result in a perfect score of 880 points, but only 440 points are required to get a passing grade.

The Department of Natural Resources' analysis of the Master Matrix shows that certain questions pertaining to separated distances are easy to score points on and nearly every application does.

Points are also awarded for practices, such as concrete manure storage structures, that are the industry standard. Other questions requiring air-quality monitoring, the installation of filters to reduce odors, demonstrating community support, implementing a worker safety and protection plan, or adopting an approved comprehensive nutrient management plan are almost never answered. READ MORE
May 29, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI - Kewaunee County is working on a draft ordinance that would require farmers to use low-pressure methods when dropping liquid manure on their fields. It's an alternative to the more controversial method of spraying.

For years now Kewaunee County has been battling soil and water issues. It is an area with many concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Most of the county's 20,000 residents get their water from private wells, some of which have been contaminated with nitrates.

The county is hoping a new ordinance will keep farmers and residents on the same page and solve some of these well issues. READ MORE

July 27, 2016, Nebraska City, NE – Otoe County zoning administrator Dave Schmitz recently told the county board that adjustments are proposed to livestock zoning regulations that a Nebraska court called the strictest in the state.

The proposal would still require a mile separation between livestock operations and new houses, but the setbacks between houses and fields, where manure might be applied, may be scaled back. READ MORE

January 6, 2016, Guelph, Ont – Back by popular demand, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association recently announced the return of the Manure and Biosolids Management Program.

Part of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI), the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is available to custom applicators in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds and the Lake Huron southeast shores watershed areas.

“The unique advantage of a program designed for custom applicators lies in each business’ ability to impact a larger geography than funding individual on-farm projects,” expressed Andrew Graham, executive director of OSCIA. “It’s the multiplier effect that is so significant within the Manure and Biosolids Management Program.”

With algal blooms threatening the quality of water in the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative aims to address water quality issues while improving soil health across southwestern Ontario. The Manure and Biosolids Management Program helps drive the GLASI objectives by facilitating the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) that protect soil, minimize the risk of spills, and improve application accuracy to reduce phosphorus loss from the field edge.

The first generation of the GLASI Manure and Biosolids Management Program ran this past spring, funding over 75 projects and benefitting nearly 200,000 acres of farmland across the target geography in 2015. Bringing the program back for a second round this winter will further support proactive management by custom applicators and continue to make a positive impact on Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the southeast shores of Lake Huron.

Funding for the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to be eligible, applicants must have an up-to-date Nutrient Application Technician License and/or an up-to-date Prescribed Materials Application Business License and operate in the GLASI eligible area.

Funding is provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

For more information on the Manure and Biosolids Management Program, visit the OSCIA website at ontariosoilcrop.org or contact OSCIA directly at 226-706-8669 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

December 22, 2015, Kewaunee County, WI — Officials in Kewaunee County are moving forward with a feasibility study designed to address the issue of farm runoff.

County leaders say a bio-digester system could process manure from thousands and thousands of cows. READ MORE

November 2, 2015, Dane County, WI – A new technology that would completely separate all nutrients from manure collected at the Town of Springfield digester, leaving clean water behind, may not be in the cards.

Last week, the Dane County Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resource (EANR) Committee voted to amend the county executive’s 2016 budget, removing the $500,000 slated to fund the NuWay system at the digester. READ MORE

September 22, 2015, Camp Verde, AZ – Sharing in the state of Arizona just got a little easier, for manure anyway. The Oak Creek Watershed Council launched its free web-based Manure Share Program on Sept. 14.

The online module allows any resident of Arizona the opportunity to share or find free manure across the state. READ MORE

May 28, 2015, Winona, MN – The debate over the future of livestock farming in Winona County began recently.

The county Planning Commission is gearing up to consider raising or eliminating the county's animal unit cap, which limits the size of livestock feedlots to 1,500 animal units or 1,071 mature dairy cows. Members agree the cap has a significant effect on many issues: how family farms operate, how successful they are, how expensive land is, how much perennial ground cover is grown in the county, how clean local surface water and drinking water is, and how vibrant rural communities are. However, Planning Commission members disagreed on whether raising the cap would help or hurt family farms, rural communities, and local water quality. READ MORE

May 15, 2015, Auburn, NY – Last October's public forum centering on the negative impact of manure runoff in Cayuga County watersheds has netted a report recommending policy guidelines to preserve water quality.

An advisory group comprised of county legislators, health, environment and governmental officials can now access the Recommendation Report on Manure Management, released May 13. READ MORE

May 11, 2015, Santa Rosa, CA – Regulators have signed off on an unusual watershed cleanup project that gives Santa Rosa credit for removing a potential source of pollution of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, credit the city can use to avoid stiff fines should its wastewater treatment plant pollute the troubled waterway in the future.

The effort to remove hundreds of tons of manure from a former dairy on the banks of Windsor Creek was largely completed last fall by a Kendall-Jackson winery executive who heads the investment group that converted most of the 177-acre property to vineyards. READ MORE

March 30, 2015, Green Bay, WI – Door County Conservationist Bill Schuster told his oversight Land Conservation Committee this month he doesn’t want a repeat of the meeting at the Jacksonport Town Hall in early December, dealing with the after-effects of a manure spreading accident that sickened 16 people while contaminating more than a dozen wells, .

Schuster defended a letter dated March 1, sent to Door County farmers and owners of land leased to them for growing crops, warning of liability issues in future spills. READ MORE

February 2, 2015, Worthington, MN – While it still faces final approval from the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, a rewritten feedlot ordinance is hoped to ease confusion among farmers and make it easier for manure management officials to ensure land application of manure is being done correctly.

The county’s original feedlot ordinance dates back to March 1995, when then-zoning administrator Larry Gasow led a movement to get an ordinance on the books to “avoid problems.” At the time, legal action had been brought forth by private citizen groups in both Murray and Jackson counties. READ MORE

January 21, 2015, Wisconsin Rapids, WI — For almost five months, a Wood County committee has studied the issue of manure spraying, but a citizen group is concerned committee members don’t understand or aren’t willing to take action.

More than 50 members of the group Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors recently attended a meeting of the Wood County Ad Hoc Committee on Spray Waste to support Criste Greening, a member of Protect Wood County, as she presented the group’s concerns. READ MORE

December 9, 2014, Sennett, NY – The conversation about winter spreading of manure continues for the Cayuga County Water Quality Management Association.

At a monthly meeting, Eileen O'Connor, Cayuga County Health Department director of environmental health, reviewed a presentation of a draft white paper on the issue from the Environmental Protection Agency, in response to a request from a WQMA member to look at the science behind the issue. READ MORE

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