Environment
Livestock farmers are subject to inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). And, because these assessments usually occur with little or no notice to the farmer, it is essential to be prepared for your livestock farm to be inspected at any time.
Published in Profiles
The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that up to $250,000 of funding is available in Oregon for eligible individuals, local and state governments, non-governmental organizations, and tribes through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.
Published in State
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the City of Madison, Wisconsin, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and Washington State University's Energy Program have been selected to receive funding for projects to help reduce food waste and loss and divert food waste from landfills by expanding anaerobic digester capacity in the United States. These projects further the federal government's efforts set forth in the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative.
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
With snow melting and rain falling on frozen soil, Wisconsin's Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is completely pink today, meaning the risk of manure runoff is severe statewide.
Published in News
For the eighth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer an opportunity for agricultural producers in three Ohio watersheds to apply for assistance to install conservation practices that protect water quality through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).
Published in News
Weather impacts both manure application and loss of nutrients on crop utilization.
Published in Dairy
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently funded a research study to examine the manure and litter nutrient production in Pennsylvania poultry farms that may be directly affecting the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Published in Poultry
The Smotherman family began farming in 2002 as admitted rookies to agriculture and raising turkeys. But 16 years later Texas-based Ken and Dana Smotherman, may now be considered industry veterans who are having hall of fame careers, according to their peers.
Published in Poultry
The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC) has chosen five projects from 11 proposals to develop and test technologies that intercept and remove phosphorus from agricultural runoff. Phosphorus entering the system contributes to the growth of harmful algal blooms in the Thames River and Lake Erie.
Published in News
Thirty Illinois county Farm Bureaus have been awarded grants under the Nutrient Stewardship Grant program. For the fourth consecutive year, Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has awarded the grants – totaling nearly $400,000 in the last four years – to help promote local nutrient stewardship, soil health, and water quality projects.
Published in News
The American Biogas Council released the following statement in response to the fourth National Climate Assessment. The American Biogas Council is the trade association for the U.S. biogas industry. Biogas systems recycle organic material like food and yard waste, sewage sludge and animal manure, producing renewable energy in addition to valuable soil products.
Published in Biogas
Spring in America's heartland is often wet. That makes its soil too soft for planting. One solution to that issue is tile drainage. Growers insert a series of pipes (drain tiles) under their fields, which drains water from the soil into nearby streams and lakes.
Published in Other
Want to know more about your environmental footprint? Get additional information about operational costs? University of Minnesota Extension specialist, Erin Cortus and extension educators, Diane DeWitte, Jason Ertl, and Sarah Schieck are looking to work with producers in confidentially assessing their own operations using The Pig Production Environmental Footprint Calculator - a tool developed with support from and maintained by the National Pork Board.
Published in Swine
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the National Weather Service has designed a new tool for those applying manure in Minnesota called the Minnesota Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast.
Published in Manure Application
Beef and dairy farmers around the world are looking for ways to reduce methane emissions in their herds and cut greenhouse gas emissions – a global priority. To help meet this goal, researchers from Canada and Australia teamed-up for a three-year study to find the best feeding practices that reduce methane emissions while supporting profitable dairy and beef cattle production.
Published in Air quality
Bristow, IA – Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff have investigated a manure spill caused by a broken water line in a hog confinement located about three miles north of Bristow.

An unknown amount of manure from an empty building traveled about a mile before entering a tributary of Parmentar Creek on Sept. 26. Field tests by DNR staff found slightly elevated ammonia levels, but not high enough to kill fish.

A cleanup crew from the farm stopped the flow and built dams downstream to contain contaminated water, which they pumped and hauled to apply on crop fields.

DNR did not observe any dead fish in the stream. DNR will continue to monitor cleanup and consider appropriate enforcement action.

Published in News
Washington, DC – As North Carolina communities grapple with the fallout from flooding during Hurricane Florence, community groups and an allied national coalition filed a legal complaint in federal court Sept. 28, challenging a Trump administration policy that exempts animal feeding operations from having to report emissions under a federal emergency planning and right-to-know law.

“The full extent of the damage to our communities is still unknown. But one thing’s clear – we need better protections for communities neighboring these operations,” said Devon Hall, executive director of the Duplin County, NC-based Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH). Duplin County, a hub of industrial pig operations, was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. “Eliminating this exemption is a simple way to help make sure my neighbors and I are better protected.”

At the heart of the matter are two environmental laws – the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Both require reporting of releases of hazardous substances that meet or exceed reportable quantities within a 24-hour period in order for federal, state, and local officials to evaluate the need for an emergency response to mitigate the effects of a release to the community.

Back in December 2008, the EPA published a final rule that exempted all farms from reporting hazardous substance air releases from animal waste under CERCLA. Only large CAFOs were subject to EPCRA reporting.

Several citizen groups challenged the validity of the final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals and, in April 2017, the court vacated the final rule.

In March 2018, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus Bill) was signed into law, a section of which – known as the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method Act (FARM Act) – amended CERCLA to exempt air emissions from animal waste at a farm from reporting under CERCLA.

Accordingly, on August 1, 2018, EPA published a final rule revising the CERCLA reporting regulations to incorporate the FARM Act’s amendments to CERCLA.

Based on the criteria for EPCRA release reporting, the EPA maintains that air emissions from animal waste at farms do not need to be reported under EPCRA.

REACH and Sound Rivers are being represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice and are joined by Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Food Safety, Don’t Waste Arizona, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance in the complaint.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.
Published in Federal
Four years ago, dairy farmer Jay Richardson and his wife, Kristi – owners of Son-Bow Farms in Northwest Wisconsin – sat down for a heart-to-heart to discuss the future of their business.
Published in Dairy
While April showers might bring May flowers, they also contribute to toxic algae blooms, dead zones and declining water quality in U.S. lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters, a new study shows.
Published in Other
Earthworms eat biological material in the soil to survive. Now, their abilities are being put to work by a company called BioFiltro. They are used in a controlled environment to clean liquid manure waste streams in a matter of hours where it would otherwise have taken weeks.
Published in Dairy
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