Environment
February 15, 2018, Tillamook, OR – An Oregon dairy has been fined $16,800 for a massive manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay last spring.

About 190,000 gallons of liquid manure were released from an above-ground storage tank at the dairy operation on April 12, 2017, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said.

The manure pooled in a field near the dairy barns, flowed across three other landowners’ properties, and ended up in a slough that connects to a drainage system that pumps water into the Tillamook River, which then enters the bay. READ MORE
Published in Dairy
February 13, 2018, Nandua, VA – Virginia is proposing a new permit to require more boots-on-the-ground monitoring for some farms. It includes some quarterly inspections and stormwater discharge sampling.

The hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year close to the Chesapeake Bay worries residents of Virginia's Eastern Shore. READ MORE
Published in State
February 12, 2018, Greenwich, N¥ – As winter manure spreading regulations have tightened over the years, dairy farmers must consider ways to expand manure storage, especially those whose herds are growing.

About 90 people turned out recently for “Managing Dairy Manure Systems: Sharing Experiences of Farmers and Engineers,” a program put on by Washington County Extension. They learned the pros and cons of different practices such as hauling, satellite lagoons, pumps and draglines, and how to implement such systems. READ MORE





Published in Regional
February 9, 2018, Washington, DC – The National Pork Producers Council recently asked Congress for a legislative fix to a federal emergency response law that now requires farmers to report emissions from the natural breakdown of manure to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Testifying on behalf of NPPC, Dr. Howard Hill told members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that livestock producers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency never believed routine agricultural emissions from manure constituted the type of emergency or crisis the law was intended to address.

Last April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

CERCLA is mainly used to clean hazardous waste, and it and EPCRA include provisions that require entities to report on the release of various substances over certain thresholds.

The appeals court ruling will force “tens of thousands of livestock farmers to figure out how to estimate and report their emissions,” testified Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, and past president of NPPC. (More than 100,000 livestock farmers likely will need to file emissions reports by a May 1 deadline.)

He pointed out that while the pork industry is prepared to comply with CERCLA and EPCRA, EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard – which takes the emissions reports – and state and local emergency response authorities have said they don’t want or need the information, which could interfere with their legitimate emergency functions.

Hill also told the committee that pork producers are committed to responsibly managing their animals and the manure they produce to protect water and air quality and to maximizing manure’s benefit and value as a source of nutrients for the crops they grow. He said the pork industry, which has worked cooperatively with environmental regulators at the state and federal levels, supports federal environmental policies that: give producers performance expectations that have a high probability of resulting in meaningful environmental improvements; are practical and affordable; and provide producers a realistic amount of time to adapt measures and associated systems to their operations so they can continue to be profitable and successful.
Published in Air quality
February 7, 2018, Lancaster, PA – Pennsylvania’s largest farms may soon be operating under new regulations that will streamline some requirements while mandating additional safeguards against water pollution.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has proposed the new regulations for so-called concentrated animal feeding operations, defined as farms with more than 300 animals. READ MORE
Published in State
February 7, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – A scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says tailoring ration formulations to the needs of each pig will lower feeding costs and reduce the environmental impact of manure.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, Canadian scientists are developing a precision feeding system that will tailor the ration to match the nutritional needs of each individual pig.

Dr. Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says by supplying one diet that meet the needs of the least productive pigs, the producer ends up overfeeding the more productive pigs.

“We have to look at nutrient requirements from two different points of view,” says Dr. Pomar. “One is when we are looking to a given animal or when we are feeding a group of animals the definition of nutrient requirements is very different. Feeding one pig at a given time is not the same thing as feeding a large group of pigs during a long period of time. We have to understand that estimating nutrient requirements, we are addressing the issue of one animal, why are we using that to feed groups of animals?”

“When you over supply the nutrients, you are using important resources that finally ends in manure so this is very expensive,” he adds. “Today the farmers are challenged to reduce feeding costs.”

“Feed costs represent 60 to 70 percent of the cost of producing a hog. So optimizing the level of nutrients, knowing how much the pigs need we can reduce costs. Reducing costs, we are [also] reducing the environmental impact because all the nutrients they giving in excess finish always in the same way, in manure.”

Dr. Pomar says early indications are that by personalizing formulations for each pig, we can produce the same amount of meat with 25 percent less protein, dramatically reducing feed costs.
Published in Swine
February 7, 2018, Pierre, SD – County commissions should have authority over whether livestock and dairy producers can run pipelines of animal manure through neighbors’ road ditches, and then pump the waste onto fields as fertilizer, a South Dakota lawmaker testified recently.

Rep. Jason Kettwig, R-Milbank, said HB 1184 would expand South Dakota utilities laws to allow waste disposal pipelines along roadways. The House Transportation Committee agreed, voting 8-5 to recommend its passage. READ MORE
Published in State
February 5, 2018, Montpelier, VT – Gov. Phil Scott sketched out a plan at a recent dairy conference that could include making money from the pollutant plaguing Vermont’s waterways – phosphorus.

The proposal to “crowdsource” ideas to remove phosphorus from cow manure included no specific reduction goals and could take a minimum of 18 to 24 months to implement. READ MORE
Published in State
February 2, 2018, Milwaukee, WI – On February 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit extended a stay of air emissions reporting from livestock wastes through at least May 1, 2018.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had asked for an additional stay of 90 days to provide the agency additional time to prepare for any reporting obligations. In its motion for stay, the EPA cited a need for more time to refine guidance to industry on meeting the reporting obligations and to finalize agriculture-specific forms that would be used to report emissions from animal wastes to the EPA. Livestock industry groups supported the EPA’s request, while environmentalist and animal rights groups, who have previously pushed the court to apply these reporting obligations to farms, took no position on this latest request for stay.

Meanwhile, industry groups are working on legislative solutions that would address the regulatory burden of reporting emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide that occur on farms due to the natural breakdown of manure.

In April 2017, the D.C. Circuit ruled that farms were required to report air releases of “hazardous substances” above certain thresholds under two federal environmental laws, despite the fact that Congress likely never intended those two laws to apply to farms. The EPA released guidance on those reporting obligations in November 2017. The court’s mandate, or order enforcing its ruling, has been stayed periodically since its decision last spring.
Published in Air quality
February 1, 2018, Burlington, VT – What’s a responsible farmer to do? Manure injection is an important soil management practice that reduces the chance of manure runoff. But recent studies by Carol Adair and colleagues at the University of Vermont show manure injection can increase the release of harmful greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases contribute to the warming of our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gets the most attention because so much is released as we burn fossil fuels. Nitrous oxide (yes, the “laughing gas” the dentist may give you) is also a powerful greenhouse gas. There isn’t nearly as much of it in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide: it makes up only about five percent of the greenhouse gases, compared to 82 percent for carbon dioxide. However, it is a much more potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential nearly 300 times greater than carbon dioxide.

About 40 percent of all nitrous oxide emissions come from human activities, and agriculture is by far the greatest source. About 90 percent of that contribution comes from soil and nutrient management practices like tilling and fertilizing. This means that changes in these practices have great potential to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture. But there is also the potential to make them worse.

That’s where manure injection comes into the story. Animal manure has been used as a fertilizer for thousands of years. It is an excellent source of nutrients for plants and helps build good soil. Manure slowly releases nitrogen, one of the primary elements that help plants grow. Because of this slow release, it does not have to be applied as often as commercial fertilizer.

Traditionally, manure has been spread, or broadcast, onto the fields. However, with changing weather patterns some areas have had heavier rains and more flooding. Many farmers are taking steps to avoid manure runoff that can affect the quality of lakes and streams nearby. One such step is manure injection, a relatively new way of applying manure. It helps keep the manure on the crops and on the fields. Manure injectors insert narrow troughs of liquid manure six to eight inches deep into the soil.

“Unfortunately, at that depth conditions are just right for producing nitrous oxide,” said Adair.

The soils are often wet and there is little oxygen. This leads microbes in the soil to change the way they convert organic matter into energy. This alternative process changes nitrogen into nitrous oxide as a byproduct.

Adair and her colleagues have been studying the potential of tillage and manure application methods to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. They are comparing conventional tilling versus no-till systems, and broadcast versus manure injection.

Through several farm and laboratory experiments, they have found the tillage method has little impact on nitrous oxide emissions. However, manure injection significantly increases nitrous oxide emissions compared to the broadcast method. This is especially true soon after injection. Warming soil in the spring and more winter thaw/freeze cycles in winters also seem to increase emissions. And when warmer winters are combined with manure injection, this multiplies the effect, leading to even more nitrous oxide emissions.

Adair says ongoing research may show the cause of winter and spring emissions and whether there are steps that can reduce them. Perhaps cover crops grown between main-crop seasons will be able to reduce wintertime nitrous oxide emissions. And perhaps the timing of manure injection is important.

“Injecting during dry periods seem to reduce emissions, and it may be that fall injection results in smaller emission pulses, but we don’t have enough evidence of the latter yet,” Adair explains. “Our work continues so we can find better answers for growers, and protect the environment.”

Adair presented this research at the October Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in Tampa, FL.
Published in Manure Application
February 1, 2018, Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $9.64 million in grant funding to 17 alternative manure management projects across the state.

These projects, part of the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on California dairy farms and livestock operations by using manure management practices that are alternatives to dairy digesters (i.e. non-digester projects).

The winning projects can be viewed here.

When livestock manure decomposes in wet conditions, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form can help significantly reduce methane emissions. These reductions contribute to the state’s overall short-lived climate pollutant strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

“California dairy farmers are leading the way in proactively addressing greenhouse gas emissions” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am excited to see both the diversity of farms and the variety of non-digester manure management practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals.”

Financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester practices comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. AMMP grant recipients will provide an estimated $2.7 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2017 Alternative Manure Management Program projects is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP/ .
Published in Dairy
January 26, 2018, Storrs, CT – Understanding the source of contaminants in waterways is crucial for public health and safety, and a University of Connecticut professor is developing an easy way to do just that.

All contamination will eventually find its way downstream. In Connecticut that means it may travel through neighborhoods where residents swim, to larger recreational areas such as beaches, and eventually to the Long Island Sound and shellfish beds. And, without knowing the exact source of the problem, the contamination can’t be addressed.

John Clausen of University of Connecticut’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, is now testing a protocol he developed to find the source. Clausen started this project almost by chance when he realized that a method had not yet been developed.

“I discovered that no one has perfected the technique for being able to look at a water sample, find E. coli and tell you where it came from, so that’s my quest,” he says.

The first step toward this goal was to identify the streams to monitor, which was a rigorous process, says Clausen.

While there are plenty of waterways in the state that are contaminated – 200 in 2016, according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – the streams needed to pass by farmland.

Farm animals and animals, in general, are often the source of the contamination. So Clausen started in the Thames river Basin, initially picking more than 30 sites and then narrowing that number down to 10 streams.

Once the sites were chosen, Clausen installed a type of water sampler at each location to collect samples whenever there is a significant rainfall event.

“When you get one-to-two inch storms, you really get high E. coli values,” says Clausen.

To help with the collection efforts, the researchers coordinated volunteers to collect and deliver the water samples from all of the sites after heavy rain events. Clausen says they’ve become very good at watching the weather to determine when to collect samples.

Then the samples with high contamination are sent to a lab to quantify the level of coliform bacteria from animal sources.

Now Clausen is designing tests for E. coli specifically. He and his team of student researchers are developing tests for chicken, horse, cow and human sources. The process involves collecting fecal samples, isolating the bacteria and their DNA, pinpointing species specific markers to target and then working out the fine details to optimize the tests.

“We are now in the statistics part of development. This winter we’ll be sequencing to see how well our tests match up with the bacteria in the water samples,” says Clausen.

The overall goal is to identify producers and sources of contamination so remediation efforts can be put in place. Clausen points out that industry already has best practices to reduce E. coli in waterways from agricultural sources, manure management being one of those. When manure is not handled properly, for example, bacteria-rich runoff can easily make its way into our waterways.

“Just storing manure in holding tanks is very effective. There is a die-off period for pathogens, after which the manure can be spread more safely,” Clausen says.

Unfortunately for farmers, holding tanks are pricey and other best practices are not always easy to carry out.

But fortunately in the case of E. coli, unlike that for other types of runoff such as fertilizers, the E. coli that make their way into the watershed don’t seem to persist for quite so long.

Once bacterial source tracking is available and sources of contamination are identified, remediation efforts could potentially have a big impact on returning streams to safe levels fairly quickly.

“I’ve already had officials ask if we can start testing,” says Clausen. “We’re not there yet, but I think we’re close.”
Published in Other
January 25, 2018, Des Moines, IA – The air leaving Iowa hog confinements contains manure and should be illegal under state law, according to a petition filed with the state.

Four northeast Iowa residents want the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to regulate the release of manure through the air in the same way it regulates the release of liquid manure.

The state requires that manure be retained until it's applied as fertilizer to farm fields, the petition says. READ MORE









Published in Swine
January 25, 2018, Madison, WI – The state Department of Natural Resources Board has approved new restrictions on manure spreading in 15 eastern Wisconsin counties.

The DNR developed the rules largely in response to widespread groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County. Manure runoff has harmed drinking and surface water in parts of the county and other communities.

The regulations limit how much manure farms in the counties can spread. The limits vary according to the depth of each farm's topsoil. Farms with less than two feet of topsoil would be prohibited from spreading any manure. The restrictions also carve out zones around wells where farmers can't spread manure. READ MORE
Published in State
January 23, 2018, Portland, OR – Climate Trust Capital, a U.S.-based private investment fund, has closed on a carbon investment in the biogas sector –the Carlos Echeverria and Sons Dairy (CE&S) biogas project.

Approximately $1.12 million of Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I was invested in a covered lagoon digester that will destroy methane and produce carbon offsets under California’s cap and trade system.

The investment is based on the anticipated 10-year value of carbon credits from a livestock digester project located at the Carlos Echeverria and Sons Dairy, a large farm in California’s Central Valley. Project partner, California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio), has built three other dairy digester projects, including California’s largest, with three additional projects currently coming on line and many more scheduled for development. This project investment is expected to begin generating carbon offsets in January 2018 with initial cash flow from the sale of these offsets in 2019.

“Generating revenue from the sale of offsets through California’s cap and trade program is a complex process requiring a great deal of regulatory oversight to ensure the credits are real, additional, and permanent,” said Andrew Craig, director of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives for California Bioenergy. “We’re thankful to have partnered with some of the leading experts in the dairy digester industry, including The Climate Trust, who has been an invaluable asset to us and our dairy farmer partners.”

“The need for capital when building a livestock digester project is in strong alignment with Climate Trust Capital’s investment thesis of providing an early-stage investment to catalyze projects,” said Kristen Kleiman, director of investments for The Climate Trust. “Digesters improve the economic and environmental performance of dairies, provide clean energy, improve soil nutrient management, improve local air quality, and so much more. Quality digester projects will make up a sizeable portion of our investment portfolio, enabling the trust to keep an eye toward ensuring the best possible premiums from the sale of generated credits.”

The CE&S digester will treat the manure by covering manure lagoons with a flexible, high-density polyethylene cover. Captured methane will be stored and then combusted in a high-efficiency generator that delivers renewable electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric. In addition, the digester will be double lined and enhance ground-water protection. Effluent from the digester will be used to irrigate fields.
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
January 23, 2018, Auburn, NY – A manure overflow in the town of Venice, NY, impacted Salmon Creek earlier this month, but it was not seen in Cayuga Lake, nor did it affect residents' water supplies, according to state and local officials.

The NY Department of Environmental Conservation said it was notified of a manure spill on Jan. 10 at Indian Field Road due to a mechanical failure in farm equipment. READ MORE
Published in Dairy
January 22, 2018, Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Department of Natural Resources are co-hosting a series of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) update meetings throughout Wisconsin in early February.

The meetings are specifically designed for WPDES permitted CAFO owners/managers, producers considering expansion, nutrient management plan writers and engineers. Each meeting will provide information on new policies, proper spill response, manure hauling, day-storage calculations and will feature a DNR panel.

The forums are slated to be held throughout the state in the coming weeks. Nutrient management plan writers and engineers working on large farms are also invited to attend.

The meetings will be held on the follow dates and locations:
  • February 5: Tundra Lodge Conference Center, Green Bay
  • February 5: Crystal Falls Banquet Hall, New London
  • February 6: Silver Valley Banquet Hall, Manitowoc
  • February 6: University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac
  • February 8: County Building, Dodgeville
  • February 9: UW-Extension office, Jefferson
  • February 12: UW-Marshfield Ag Research Station, Marshfield
  • February 13: Clarion Hotel, Eau Claire
Wisconsin has more than 250 CAFO farms throughout the state and these meetings offer an opportunity for owners, managers, advisors, and other CAFO stakeholders to receive updated information to help meet permit requirements. The meetings also provide an opportunity for permittees to learn about new report submission processes and learn how to avoid common errors and problems. Each meeting also features a local topic of interest such as prairie buffer strips, automated calf feeding, CAFO community outreach, nitrogen application, human resource management, and environmental efforts.

More information on the meetings and individual meeting brochures can be accessed at https://conservation-training.uwex.edu/news/2018-annual-cafo-update-meetings.

To pre-register for any of the workshops, call UW-Extension at 920-391-4652.





Published in Dairy
January 19, 2018, Holland, MN – The Pipestone County Board of Adjustments, over the objections of a handful of residents, approved a variance allowing a local farm to build a feedlot located less than a mile from the city limits of Holland.

A variance was required because the county’s zoning ordinance prohibits new feedlots or expansions of existing feedlots within one mile of “the corporate limits of any incorporated community.” The proposed location is 220 feet short of the required mile. READ MORE
Published in Regional
January 17, 2018, Des Moines, IA – Iowa lawmakers should halt construction on animal confinements until Iowa's water quality is significantly improved, a coalition of about two dozen state, local and national groups said Tuesday.

The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture asked lawmakers to support 15 bills tightening oversight of confinements introduced by Sen. David Johnson, an independent from Ocheyeden. READ MORE
Published in Associations
January 17, 2018, Kewanee, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has made a final determination clearing the way for a local dairy operation to be reissued a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit for its concentrated animal feeding operation in Casco.

The permit, effective Feb. 1, 2018, through Jan. 31, 2023, sets the effluent limitations, monitoring requirements and other conditions regarding the management and use of manure and process wastewater generated by the operation’s 5,250 animal units. READ MORE
Published in State
Page 1 of 55

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Phosphorus Forum 2018
Tue Feb 27, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 03:00PM
North Carolina Pork Congress
Wed Mar 07, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2018 World Pork Expo
Wed Jun 06, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training – Wisconsin
Tue Jun 19, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM