Business/Policy
April 27, 2017, Wilkes-Barre, PA – A state court judge cited Pennsylvania’s Right To Farm Act (RTFA) in recently dismissing a case from neighbors who filed a lawsuit over the use of liquid swine manure as part of the defendants' farming operations.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. decided to grant motions for summary judgment for the defendants and against a long list of plaintiffs who are landowners and neighbors of the hog operation. READ MORE
Published in State
April 25, 2017, Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the investment of $39 million for 12 drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and non-point source projects across nine counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

The investment includes four projects aimed at improving manure control facilities:

Chester County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Elmer Kaufman received a $408,039 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including a concrete waste storage structure, gutters and downspouts, four catch basins and new pipes, as well as planting 900 feet of new grass waterways, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into Two Log Run during wet weather.
Lancaster County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Daniel Esh received a $350,467 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including more than 1,000 square feet of paved and curbed barnyard as well as 14,400 square feet of reinforced gravel animal trail, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of the East Branch of Octoraro Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and Fiddle Creek Dairy received a $245,494 grant to install a roofed manure stacking structure, a watering facility, underground outlets, as well as animal trails and walkways that will serve to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of Big Beaver Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and David Stoltzfus received a $347,055 grant to make a variety of improvements it manure handling facilities as well as installing reinforced gravel animal walkways, a stream crossing and streambank fencing, all of which will reduce nutrient run-off into Muddy Run during wet weather.
"Today marked another special day for the PENNVEST program and for the citizens of Pennsylvania. By approving almost $40 million in funding for clean water projects across the commonwealth, the PENNVEST Board continued its commitment to improve the quality of our rivers and streams, the health of our families and the economic prosperity of our state", said Governor Wolf. "Together we will further the achievement of these goals and make Pennsylvania an even more desirable place to live and work for this and future generations."

Of the $39 million, $18.2 million is allocated for low-interest loans and $20.8 million is awarded through grants.

The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. READ MORE
Published in News
April 25, 2017, Sacramento, CA – The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued an administrative civil liability penalty of $75,600 against a Visalia-area dairy for failing to file its 2015 annual report on the impacts of its dairy operations on water quality. The board also adopted a cease and desist order against the operation for failure to comply with requirements set forth in the Dairy General Order.

The cease and desist order requires the owners to resume compliance with all the requirements of the Dairy General Order, including filing annual reports, or face the possibility of additional civil penalties and/or judicial enforcement from the California Office of the Attorney General.

"Fully complying with all requirements of the Dairy General Order is needed to protect water quality," said Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer for the Central Valley Water Board. "Annual reports are a vital component of the Dairy General Order because they inform the board about manure handling activities at dairies, and nutrient management planning on dairy cropland."

"It is critical that dairies adequately implement the requirements of the Dairy General Order including submitting annual reports that show they are taking the steps necessary to protect water quality. In assessing the penalty and adopting the cease and desist order, our board is recognizing a discharger's responsibility to comply with orders issued by our board, including submitting required documents."

According to the CVRWQCB, the owners of the dairy have failed to file annual reports required by dairies regulated under the Dairy General Order since 2009. Further site inspections have determined the owners have failed to implement many other requirements of the Dairy General Order.

The Dairy General Order, first adopted by the Central Valley Water Board in 2007 and revised in 2013, requires dairies to handle waste in ways that preserve and protect water quality. The order contains a number of requirements, including standards for manure and dairy wastewater storage, and criteria for the application of manure and dairy wastewater to cropland. The order also contains reporting requirements for regulated dairies, including the submission of annual reports, submission of a waste management plan, implementation of a nutrient management plan, and implementation of groundwater monitoring. Failure to submit any of the required reports is a violation of the order.
Published in Dairy
April 24, 2017 – Do you think you're funny? Do your friends say you're witty? Have a way with words? Know your crap? We have a job for you!

Officials with the North American Manure Expo – being held August 22 and 23, 2017, in Arlington, Wisc. – are hoping to update the event's collectible T-shirt, an annual favorite among attendees. So, the hunt is now on for some of the crappiest slogans out there.

Spread the word or provide your own "deposit." Slogans are being collected through June 15, 2017, and can be submitted at: http://www.agannex.com/administrative/manure-expo/crappiest-t-shirt-slogan or by visiting manureexpo.org and following the links.

The top 50 slogans received – as decided by expo planners – will be voted on by the public with the top 10 going on the back of the 2017 Manure Expo T-shirt.

Anyone who submits a slogan that makes the T-shirt will receive a free shirt. Your friends will be brown with envy.

The brainchild of Rob Meinen, a senior associate with Penn State University Extension, the "Top 10 Rejected Manure Expo Slogans" T-shirt has become the must-have wardrobe item since 2015. During the first T-shirt slogan contest, more than 750 manure-themed messages were collected from participants all over the world. Planners are hoping for even more "offal" entries this year.

To help inspire, here are some of the top slogans from the 2015 Crappy T-shirt Contest:

• NOBODY sticks their nose in our business
• Immerse yourself
• Where no one stands behind their product
• You provide the creek, we provide the paddle
• Rated M for manure
• You name the species – we've got the feces
• Nature called – it wants its nutrients back
• Our grass is always greener
• Be part of the movement
• The incredible spreadable
• Poopapalooza
• The future of what's left behind

Give into the pressure and dig deep. It's your "doody."
Published in News
April 18, 2017, Lexington, KY – On April 11, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Waterkeeper Alliance, et al., v. EPA, vacated a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farms from certain hazardous substance reporting requirements (2008 Rule).
Published in Regulations
April 18, 2017, Kansas City, MO – Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Vanguard Renewables recently announced a strategic partnership to help bring anaerobic digestion technology to more farms across the country.
Published in Dairy
April 18, 2017, Ames, IA – Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture would be closed under a House-Senate agriculture bill unveiled April 12. The bill would cut the state's general fund budget for state agriculture and natural resources programs by 5.6 percent compared to the current fiscal year.
Published in Business/Policy

April 13, 2017, Yakima, WA – A Lower Valley dairy is being sued over claims that it has violated the federal Clean Water Act for years, including contributing to the impact of a manure-related flood in the Outlook area earlier this year.

Published in Dairy

April 13, 2017, Haverhill, MA — The city's board of health has approved a waste-to-energy digester for farm in Bradford.

Published in Anaerobic Digestion

April 13, 2017, Emerald, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating a large manure spill from a dairy in St. Croix County.

Published in State

April 11, 2017, Charles City, IA — A revised resolution aimed at protecting the health of workers at large animal confinement operations was discussed by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors recently, and its sponsor hopes changes will result in more support this time.

Supervisor Mark Kuhn introduced a resolution at the board meeting the end of February to set worker health safety requirements for applicants seeking to get a state construction permit for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 11, 2017, Raleigh, NC – North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to protect the world's largest pork producer from lawsuits accusing its subsidiaries of creating unbearable animal waste odor.

The 2014 lawsuits by about 500 rural neighbors of massive hog farms allege that clouds of flies and intense smells remain a problem nearly a quarter-century since industrial-scale hog farming took off. READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 10, 2017, Windsor Heights, IA – Plans to enable farmers and consultants to submit manure management plan updates electronically will lead off the April 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at DNR’s Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road in Windsor Heights, IA. READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 10, 2017, Owatonna, MN – Public perception can dictate and lead to public policy. It is important for agriculture professionals to step out of their own boots and look at how they do business from the perspective of the general public. Is it a positive image? If not, the public may seek regulations to change it.

Rick Martens, the executive director of the Minnesota Custom Applicators Association, spoke to a group of manure applicators that were continuing their Commercial Ag Waste Technician training. READ MORE

Published in State

April 5, 2017, Hartford, CT – Connecticut’s dairy farmers could soon become the newest alternative energy producers, thanks to an innovative “Cow Power” initiative promoted by State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., co-chair of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee.

Passing unanimously out of the committee, the Cow Power bill – SB 999 – promotes the use of cow manure as a renewable energy source through the process of anaerobic digestion. The bill also creates an easier, cheaper and faster state and local permitting process for farmers who are interested in adopting this technology.

“‘Cow Power’ is a term for the conversion of cow manure into electricity, enabling farmers to make money by adding a new, desperately-needed source of farm revenue,” said Senator Kennedy. “Instead of storing tons of manure in open cesspools that contaminate the water supply and release tons of climate-destroying methane into the atmosphere, farmers can place the animal waste in an anaerobic digester located on their property.”

An anaerobic digester is a large metal tank that uses bacteria to convert manure and food waste into valuable biogas, which, in turn, provides fuel to a generator that produces electricity that can be used by the farmers or sold on the power grid through virtual net metering. This can allow farmers to assign surplus energy production from their generator to other metered accounts at retail, not lower wholesale, prices.

“Farm-based anaerobic digesters now number over 250 nationwide and have already become significant sources of electricity in places such as Lancaster County, PA, and Vermont,” said Senator Kennedy. “In addition to becoming a valuable and diversified source of electricity, anaerobic digesters solve many other problems, such as eliminating farm odor, reducing manure-based water pollution, and creating a by-product that is non-toxic and pathogen-free that can be used or sold as animal bedding or fertilizer. We need to cut through the red tape, streamlining and simplifying Connecticut’s permitting process to accelerate this technology and save our farms.”

SB 999, which will initially establish a pilot program for three farms in Connecticut, is welcome news for Connecticut’s farmers. The state’s 111 registered dairy farms are seeking new revenue sources to preserve their farms as they struggle to compete with much larger dairy operations in the Midwest, where labor and land costs are cheaper.

“This is a natural process that kills pathogens, recycles nutrients, and more,” said Henry Talmage, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, at the public hearing for SB 999. “In addition to generating electricity, installing agricultural anaerobic digesters destroys methane and reduces overall carbon emissions, making it outperform other Zero-Rec emitting technologies.”

The goal of the pilot program is also to identify the best technologies, examine economic risks, and modernize Connecticut’s future digester permitting pathway.

Now that SB 999 has passed the Environment Committee, it moves to the floor of the state senate for further action.

Published in Dairy

April 4, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI – A scientist who's looked into widespread well contamination in Kewaunee County says he's now urging owners of tainted wells to find another water source.

U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt recently published findings that indicate cow manure is the leading cause of groundwater pollution in Kewaunee County. But he found that human waste from sanitary systems is spoiling drinking water there, too. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

April 3, 2017, Chicago, IL — Four new measures proposed in the Illinois legislature would tighten the state’s environmental protections on hog confinements and give local citizens more input in the permitting process as well as standing to challenge the massive facilities in court.

The legislation, announced March 28, was proposed in response to an August investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The bills would represent the first significant reforms to the state’s 1996 Livestock Management Facilities Act, which has been criticized for failing to keep up with the dramatic growth of swine confinements. READ MORE

 

Published in Swine

April 3, 2017, Albany, NY – Cows, whose methane-emitting flatulence has been cited as a culprit in global warming, now are being blamed, along with New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation, for contaminating the state’s water supply with manure.

Riverkeeper and four other groups, including fly fishers and the Sierra Club, sued the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany County Supreme Court, demanding it strengthen a general water permit for large farm operations to bring it into compliance with the Clean Water Act. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

March 31, 2017, Roanoke, VA – State environmental regulators have cited a dairy farming operation in Franklin County for a manure spill into a creek that feeds into the Roanoke River basin.

The dairy operation agreed to pay a $3,250 fine in response to violations of the State Water Control Law at the farm.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality responded in September 2015 to a report of a manure spill in Maggodee Creek. The spill was traced back to the operation, where a concrete manure impoundment had a crack in it. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

March 31, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The Manitoba government is proposing changes to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation to reduce redundancy, add clarity and eliminate ineffective regulations.

The Manitoba government has launched a 45-day public consultation on proposed amendments to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. The proposed amendments to the regulation are intended to align with recent changes to the Environment Act under the province’s red tape reduction initiative. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox says these changes will further reduce redundant or duplicated language, improve the clarity of processes and remove ineffective regulations.

“Just to be clear, we have maintained all of our environmental restrictions on manure management, including a ban on winter spreading that will remain, requiring manure management plans will remain, soil testing and a requirement for construction permits,” said Cox. “We have removed the requirement of an ineffective manure management treatment process based on scientific recommendations and practicability. The changes we are proposing, both in the act and in the regulation, are about maintaining our environmental standards while eliminating unnecessary or redundant stipulations. Having the environmental rules in regulation as opposed to legislation allows us to keep up with innovation more flexibly. It is bad policy to have technological prescriptions in legislation.

“We have held technical briefings for industry stakeholders and NGOs in the past few weeks and are now opening it up to public consultation, which we are actually enhancing from 30 to 45 days.”

Public comments are being accepted until May 12 and can be mailed to the Environmental Approvals Branch of Manitoba Sustainable Development or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Swine
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