Environment Protection
November 14, 2017 – Dozens of livestock farmers in the Netherlands are breaking the rules for the disposal of surplus manure, according to an investigation by the NRC Handelsblad, an evening newspaper based in Amsterdam.

Farmers are forging their accounts, illegally trading their manure or dumping more on their land than permitted by law, while transport companies are fiddling lorry weights and making unrecorded trips to dump manure at night, the paper said.

In total, the NRC found that 36 of the 56 manure processing and distribution companies in the two regions had been fined for fraud, or suspected of fraud, in what the paper calls the “manure conspiracy.” READ MORE
Published in Other
November 13, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – New hog barns will be built Manitoba.

After an all-night session at the Manitoba Legislature, Bill 24 has passed its final reading and received royal assent.

The newly passed act amends The Environment Act, removing general prohibitions for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities. Bill 24 also strikes the winter manure application ban from the Environment Act, although winter application would continue to be prohibited for all livestock operations in Manitoba under the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. READ MORE
Published in State
November 10, 2017, Kewaunee, WI – The Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance regulating manure irrigation at its Nov. 7 meeting.

The Chapter 37 Agricultural Waste and Process Wastewater Irrigation Ordinance allows low pressure-drip irrigation at a height no greater than 18 inches to apply nutrients during the growing season. The vote was 19-0 with one supervisor excused. READ MORE



Published in Regional
November 7, 2017 – A new funding program being delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) aims to improve soil health through investments in nutrient application equipment.

With 60 percent cost-share support, up to a maximum of $25,000 per business, this is a significant opportunity for Ontario’s nutrient applicators.

The Manure and Biosolids Management Program – available to all licensed custom applicators in Ontario – seeks to enhance soil health across the province. Adding organic matter to the soil is a key piece of building soil health, particularly when applied using precise and innovative spreading techniques.

“It’s the multiplier effect that is so significant within the Manure and Biosolids Management Program,” said Andrew Graham, executive director of the OSCIA. “Each implemented best management practice can benefit soil health on many farm properties. The potential impacts are exponential.”

The Manure and Biosolids Management Program encourages the use of best management practices (BMPs) that enhance soil health, improve application accuracy to reduce phosphorus loss from the field edge, and protect water quality. Improving soil health is also an important part of the agri-food industry’s work to mitigate climate change. Funding is available to customize spreading equipment to allow in-crop application, or to allow slurry seeding of cover crops. There is also an innovative approaches BMP that allows businesses to invest in up-and-coming technology that is not yet available in Ontario.

“There are new ideas coming forward from around the world for precision manure application and data management,” says Mack Emiry, president of OSCIA. “The innovative approaches BMP encourages businesses to invest in these technologies, raising the bar for nutrient management here in Ontario.”

Funding for the Manure and Biosolids Management Program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Eligible applicants must have an up-to-date Nutrient Application Technician Licence and/or an up-to-date Prescribed Materials Application Business Licence. Applications can be made immediately. Projects must be complete, and claims submitted by January 15, 2018.

Published in Other
November 1, 2017, Dyersville, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently received laboratory results confirming that ammonia toxicity in runoff from a dairy was responsible for an October fish kill in Dubuque County.

Test results from water samples DNR collected Oct. 9 showed elevated levels of ammonia below a manure storage basin at the New Vienna operation. Additional test results ruled out other livestock facilities and a field where manure had recently been land applied.

The DNR fisheries report shows 60,278 fish were killed along nearly seven miles of stream, including an unnamed tributary of Hickory Creek, Hickory Creek and Hewitt Creek. More than 42,000 were minnows, shiners, dace and chubs. The remainder included primarily suckers, darters and stonerollers.

The DNR will seek fish restitution of $21,712.44, which includes a fish replacement value of $19,416.15 and the cost of the fisheries investigation.

The investigation started Oct. 9 at Highway 136 bridge in Dyersville, following a report of dead fish in Hewitt Creek. DNR staff followed dead fish upstream until they found evidence of manure washed into a stream.
Published in Dairy
October 31, 2017, Milwaukee, WI – The last couple of weeks have been very busy for Michael Best’s clients in the dairy industry. First, our attorneys assisted the Dairy Business Association of Wisconsin (DBA) in settling a lawsuit brought on DBA’s behalf, challenging Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) regulation of large dairy farms under its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program. Second, Governor Walker announced, as part of his rural agenda, his intention to “work with the legislature and EPA to transfer regulatory authority over large farms from the DNR to DATCP to encourage the best use of technical expertise and create program efficiencies,” a move long-supported by industry insiders to allow for more efficient permitting. We will keep our dairy industry clients informed of the impacts of these developments as we move forward. But, as for the lawsuit settlement, many of our clients are asking “what’s next?”

To start, the settlement vindicates DBA’s claims that WDNR acted in excess of its legal authority in 2016 when it implemented a new approach to regulating runoff from feed storage areas (FSAs) and management of calf hutch lots without engaging in formal rulemaking procedures required by statute. The settlement provides immediate relief for Wisconsin’s dairy community and should help ensure WDNR follows the law before unilaterally implementing sweeping regulatory changes in the future. The settlement also has important implications for dairy farms regulated under WPDES permits.

Background

NRCS Standard 635 (2002 WI), incorporated in Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 243 (Wisconsin’s CAFO Rule), permits the use of land-based Vegetated Treatment Areas (VTAs) to manage captured or contained feed storage runoff. Relying on this standard, numerous Wisconsin farms constructed VTAs as part of their runoff control systems. In almost all cases, the design and use of VTAs was approved by WDNR as part of a WPDES permit. In 2016, WDNR began a systematic approach of declining to review feed runoff control systems that included these designs, and began enforcing standards of 100 percent storage of all feed storage runoff that would require costly modifications and upgrades to existing runoff control systems.

Meanwhile, WDNR also changed its approach to regulating on-farm calf hutch lots. On March 9, 2016, WDNR announced that it would require review and approval of engineering plans and specifications for calf hutch lots on WPDES-permitted farms. WDNR’s calf hutch directive would have treated calf hutch lots as “reviewable facility or systems” under NR 243 and would have required compliance with standards not incorporated into law.

Frustrated after more than a year’s worth of attempts by DBA to convince WDNR to reverse these two illegal actions (actions which resulted in a number of enforcement actions being initiated by WDNR against DBA farmer members), DBA filed suit against WDNR earlier this summer in Brown County Circuit Court.

What does the settlement do?

The settlement provides immediate regulatory relief for Wisconsin dairy farmers and avoids the delay and expense of additional litigation. The settlement is public and can be viewed here.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, WDNR agreed to recognize VTAs constructed and managed in accordance with NRCS Standard 635 (2002 WI) as valid and lawful runoff control systems. WDNR also agreed to withdraw its draft guidance on VTAs and notify affected permit holders and interested stakeholders within 30 days.

With respect to calf hutch lots, WDNR agreed that calf hutch lots are not a “reviewable facility or system” requiring an engineering plan and specification review and approval, to rescind its earlier directive requiring such reviews, and to provide notice to affected permit holders and stakeholders within 30 days.

Importantly, the settlement also requires WDNR to limit its enforcement of standards or rules relating to FSA leachate/runoff controls to those authorized by statute or administrative rule. WDNR also agreed that it would not consider calf hutch lots “reviewable facilities” in the future unless specifically required by a lawfully enacted statute or promulgated administrative rule.

Permit holders should know that the settlement does not alter the discharge standard applicable to dairy CAFOs under NR 243 and farms’ WPDES permits nor the duty to apply for coverage under such permits; the settlement does, however, clarify that WDNR may no longer presume that a discharge is occurring or will occur from a farm. Under NR 243.13, a CAFO generally may not discharge manure or process wastewater to navigable waters from the production area, except where there is a precipitation caused discharge from the containment, the containment has been designed to capture the 25 year/24-hour rain event, and the production area is operated in accordance with inspection, maintenance and record keeping requirements, as defined in the rule. This standard is set by state and federal law. Beyond this requirement to prohibit the discharge of pollutants to navigable waters, WDNR may not further impose a standard requiring “zero discharge” whatsoever from the production area or VTA. DBA members have been frustrated with WDNR’s presumption of a discharge and implementation of a “zero discharge” standard without regard to important modifiers that allow such a discharge under certain circumstances.

What should farm owners do next?

As alleged in the lawsuit, WDNR has been enforcing regulatory standards and requirements that exceed its authority through a variety of means. These include (1) informing WPDES permit applicants that their application would not be approved unless their leachate and runoff control systems were redesigned to comply with new requirements; (2) issuing Notices of Noncompliance, Notices of Violation, and holding Enforcement Conferences with affected dairy farms; and (3) taking further enforcement actions against dairy farms alleged to be in noncompliance with WDNR’s new standards.

Any WPDES permit holder who has been subject to any of these actions should be aware that the settlement may impact their legal rights and options for responding to WDNR. Timely review and action may be required to preserve these rights as farms proceed through permitting and enforcement actions.

For WPDES Permit Applicants: WPDES permit holders seeking issuance of an initial WPDES permit or reissuance of an expiring WPDES permit should review the status of their permit application with knowledgeable legal counsel and engineering professionals familiar with the program and the settlement. Specifically, this review should consider whether WDNR is (1) requiring an engineering review of existing FSA runoff controls, which is no longer justified given the settlement of the DBA lawsuit; (2) requiring an engineering review of a calf hutch lot, which is not permitted under the terms of the settlement; or (3) making a finding of noncompliance or returning a submission as incomplete based on standards or requirements that are now unenforceable based on the settlement agreement.

Additionally, if the farm has received (or expects to receive) a draft permit in the future, this document should be carefully reviewed to ensure that the permit’s terms and conditions do not exceed WDNR’s legal authority.

For Farms Subject to Enforcement Action: Numerous WPDES permit holders have been issued a Notice of Violation or Notice of Noncompliance related to the farms’ alleged failure to comply with WDNR’s 2016 guidance on FSA leachate and runoff control systems or calf hutch lots. Farms should have legal counsel evaluate the continuing basis for any enforcement action, particularly as they related to alleged discharges from FSAs or calf hutch lots, inadequate FSA or calf hutch runoff control and collection systems, or failure to maintain 180 days of manure and process wastewater storage.

Dairy farmers with questions about how the settlement may affect their farm’s regulatory obligations should contact a Michael Best attorney.
Published in State
October 30, 2017, Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture has issued a grant solicitation for demonstration projects from vendors, businesses, and individuals offering technologies, equipment, infrastructure, or services that can improve the management and utilization of manure and other nutrient-rich, on-farm generated waste products.

Protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from excess nutrients – primarily nitrogen and phosphorus – is a top priority for Maryland and the other bay states. Maryland farmers are required by state law to follow nutrient management plans when fertilizing crops and managing animal manure. In 2015, the department implemented new phosphorus regulations to further protect waterways from phosphorus runoff. The regulations mainly impact livestock and poultry producers that use manure and poultry litter as a crop fertilizer. To help these producers comply with the new regulations, Maryland supports and invests in alternative uses for manure such as fertilizer manufacturing, composting and manure-to-energy projects that add value to the farm business model.

Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides seed funding to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies to manage or repurpose manure resources. The program is a key component of Governor Larry Hogan’s broader Agriculture Phosphorus Initiative to improve water quality, strengthen agriculture and bolster rural economies.

The fund has $3.5 million available to invest in innovative technologies during State Fiscal Year 2018, which ends June 30, 2018. Approximately $2 million will be directed at projects with a renewable energy component. There is no maximum or minimum request. Vendors, businesses, and individuals are invited to respond to this grant solicitation, which may be downloaded here.

Proposals should be submitted by 4 p.m. local time on December 29, 2017 to:

Ms. Louise Lawrence
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Office of Resource Conservation
50 Harry S. Truman Pkwy
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Fax: 410-841-5734
Published in Other
October 27, 2017, Washington, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released guidance to assist farmers in reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at farms.

The EPA is making this information available to provide time for farmers to review and prepare for the reporting deadline, currently set for November 15, 2017

EPA is working diligently to address undue regulatory burden on American farmers,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “While we continue to examine our options for reporting requirements for emissions from animal waste, EPA’s guidance is designed to help farmers comply with the current requirements.”

On December 18, 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted farms from reporting air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste. On April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated this final rule. In response to a request from EPA, the DC Circuit Court extended the date by which farms must begin reporting these releases to November 15, 2017. Unless the court further delays this date, all farms (including those previously exempted) that have releases of hazardous substances to air from animal wastes equal to or greater than the reportable quantities for those hazardous substances within any 24-hour period must provide notification of such releases.

The EPA guidance information includes links to resources that farmers can use to calculate emissions tailored to specific species of livestock. To view EPA’s guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on reporting air emissions from animal waste, click here: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-reporting-requirements-air-releases-hazardous-substances-animal-waste-farms.

The EPA will revise this guidance, as necessary, to reflect additional information to assist farm owners and operators to meet reporting obligations. Interested parties may submit comments or suggestions by November 24, 2017.
Published in Air quality
October 26, 2017, Atlantic, IA – Staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s Atlantic field office were in the field recently checking for the source of a manure spill that reached a tributary of East Tarkio Creek in Page County.

Staff responded to an Oct. 25 report of a manure spill that occurred the previous evening when a stuck pump valve caused manure to pool at a confinement near Clarinda. DNR staff found manure pooled at the site, and in roadside and drainage ditches that flow into an unnamed tributary of the East Tarkio Creek.

An estimated 7,000 gallons of manure was released during manure pumping by a commercial manure applicator. The applicator immediately limed the ditch and placed hay bales to keep manure from moving downstream. The DNR is requiring him to build a temporary dam in the ditch and excavate soil to prevent more manure from reaching the stream. Staff found no dead fish, but the investigation is ongoing.

Published in State
October 23, 2017, Lancaster, PA – State environmental officials on Friday continued clean-up efforts at a Lancaster County creek contaminated by a manure spill.

A manure storage facility at a farm in Pequea Township ruptured, releasing an estimated 250,000 gallons of manure into an unnamed tributary to Stehman Run, which runs into the Conestoga River. READ MORE
Published in Other
October 23, 2017, Richmond, VA – The poultry industry’s growing footprint on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is getting new scrutiny from regulators and activists after a head-turning decision by a state regulatory body to demand harsher punishment for pollution violations at a chicken-processing plant.

The Virginia State Water Control Board, a citizen body appointed by the governor, this summer rejected state regulators’ recommended fines against a Tyson Foods facility that’s a hub for a growing number of chicken houses in Accomack County.

By a vote of 4 to 1, the board decided in July that a $26,160 fine proposed by the Department of Environmental Quality was insufficient, given the history of violations at the plant. The board’s rare rejection of a consent order negotiated by the DEQ to settle a pollution violation heartened activists, who fear the poultry industry’s expansion on their narrow, low-lying stretch of the Delmarva Peninsula puts the Chesapeake Bay and their quality of life at risk. READ MORE





Published in Poultry
October 20, 2017, Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets recently announced $1 million in funding for the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP).

This financial assistance program is available to support farmers to acquire new or innovative equipment that will aid in the elimination of runoff from agricultural wastes to state waters, improve water quality, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

“Funding investments for equipment that will improve water quality is a vital aspect of our farm assistance programs,” said Anson Tebbetts, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. “This program has historically supported many farmers in their transition to no-till or in improving their farming practices with precision agricultural equipment.”

“We’re excited to offer a new phosphorus removal technology funding category which will offer financial assistance for the installation of both physical and chemical mechanisms for the separation of phosphorus from manure.”

This year, funding is available through CEAP for a range of innovative equipment, such as phosphorus removal technologies, no-till equipment, manure application record keeping units, manure injection equipment, and more. Specific equipment that is eligible for funding as well as the corresponding funding rates and caps is available the agency’s website at agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap.

The grant application opened October 18, 2017 and applications are due by 4 p.m., December 1, 2017. Eligible applicants include custom manure applicators, non-profit organizations, and farmers.

For the complete CEAP application, program details and additional information, please visit agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap or call the agency at (802) 828-2431 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Published in Manure Application
October 19, 2017, The Netherlands – In 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that China consumes around 28 percent of the world’s meat. A lot of this meat is nationally produced, so a huge amount of livestock is needed. News outlets report that China raises around nine billion chickens for meat consumption. But besides space, feed and resources, another serious problem is manure management. Developing and implementing safe, cost-effective and sustainable ways is necessary and the Netherlands can play an important role.

Within the Chinese government, there is an urgency to accelerate the transition to a circular, bio-based agriculture. The modernization of agriculture is a prominent topic in the 13th five-year plan and billions of euros will be invested in bio based and organic waste recycling over the next few years. Manure utilization is often not optimal in China, which has negative effects on the environment. At the same time, this also offers opportunities for foreign parties to enter the market.

Therefore, a Dutch mission visited China in early October to gain a better understanding of the latest developments and to explore opportunities for long-term cooperation.

“China has a large demand for agri-food technology and know-how,” said Epi Postma, director of B&E BV and one of the participants. “So there is a lot of supply and demand. Agri-food is a top-priority for the Chinese government. The Netherlands has much to offer and the Chinese know it. However, active involvement of the Dutch Embassy and Wageningen University for Sino-Dutch cooperation is imperative for opening doors.”

Wageningen University (WUR) has close ties with several Chinese agricultural institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the China Agricultural University (CAU). Last year, WUR and CAAS together established the Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center.

“We want to set up projects which link research institutes and the business community,” said Roland Melse, senior environmental technology researcher who also accompanied the mission. “Another good example of such a cooperation is the Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Center where WUR, FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and other companies are participating on the Dutch side.”

In the Netherlands, solving the manure problem is a process that is already in the spotlight for many years. Further reducing emissions and raising resource efficiency are important challenges as well, now that the Netherlands has the ambition to become a full circular economy by 2050. Furthermore, the sector needs to adapt to changing natural conditions caused by a changing climate.

Thus, getting insight on the available knowledge and the innovation ecosystem in China can also provide solutions for the Dutch situation. Of course, this is not applicable one-on-one.

“Operating on such a large scale as China’s needs long-term investments in time and capital,” said Melse. “So that is quite a challenge for smaller companies.”

On the other hand, the technology and tools that the Netherlands can offer are very interesting for China. Eijkelkamp Soil & Water Export, for example, “provide solutions that make sustainable soil and water management easier,” said Winnie Huang, export manager. “Looking at manure nutrient management, our technology has environmentally friendly solutions for the whole value chain. The Netherlands [is a] pioneer with this technology.”

But it is not all about technology.

“Rules and regulations are another important factor in further developing this industry,” said Melse. “When there are stricter laws, companies will have to follow them. For example, recently we organized a seminar with 20 Chinese CEOs from large meat producing companies and you could see that Chinese companies are preparing themselves for the future. They are interested to see which future possibilities there might be for cooperation or which products and technologies are available on the market. So the Chinese government also plays a role in strengthening Sino-Dutch cooperation.”

“We hope to have government support for developing or demonstrating the Dutch expertise in manure management,” said Huang. “Our sensors and data enhance nutrient management, thus making manure a useful resource for the entire value chain. Learning the Dutch approach and adapting to Chinese practice will deliver mutual benefits to both countries in this sector.”
Published in Companies
October 17, 2017, Sun Prairie, WI – Dane County officials and local farmers recently announced a new initiative that will help farmers reduce manure runoff into the lakes, improve farm productivity and decrease climate change emissions.

As part of its 2018 budget, the Dane County Executive is allocating $200,000 to study the potential of creating a large-scale community facility where farmers could bring manure and have it composted. READ MORE
Published in Compost
October 16, 2017, Des Moines, IA – A state fund set up to oversee Iowa livestock farms and manage the millions of gallons of manure they produce each year has been illegally diverted for other uses by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, according to the program's former manager.

Gene Tinker worked as the DNR coordinator of animal feeding operations for 14 years before he was laid off in August. In an appeal seeking to have his job reinstated, Tinker said he was told the layoff was due to state budget problems, even though the fund paying for his program received $1.6 million a year from fees charged to the livestock farms. READ MORE
Published in State
October 13, 2017, Dyersville, IA – On October 9 and 10, staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s Manchester field office looked for the source of a fish kill on Hickory and Hewitt Creeks in Dubuque County.

Starting at the Highway 136 bridge in Dyersville, DNR staff followed dead fish upstream for about five miles to an unnamed tributary of Hickory Creek. The likely source of the fish kill is manure washed into the stream from an animal feeding operation in the upper part of the watershed.

The fish kill was reported October 9, but the caller noticed dead fish following rainfall over the weekend.

The investigation is ongoing as DNR awaits laboratory test results from water samples. DNR fisheries staff estimate thousands of fish were killed, including white suckers, stonerollers, minnows and creek chubs. An official count will be available later.

DNR will seek enforcement actions as appropriate.

Published in State
October 13, 2017, The Netherlands – Farmers in the Netherlands are suffering from an overflow of chicken manure contaminated with a European Union-banned insecticide, fipronil.

Poultry farmers in the country can’t send the tainted manure to biomass power plants that convert the feces into electricity, as many typically do. They must send it to two incinerators equipped to eliminate the insecticide-contaminated feces, which can’t keep up with the demand to burn the chicken manure since August’s chicken egg scandal. The tainted manure has sat in barns and farms since that time. READ MORE
Published in Poultry
October 13, 2017, Indianapolis, IN – Indiana lawmakers will meet Oct. 19 to continue hearing testimony as they consider updating regulations on the state’s livestock feeding operations.

The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, which has members from both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly, has already met twice this fall to discuss industrial confined feeding programs. READ MORE
Published in State
October 12, 2017, Washington, DC – Voluntary conservation practices adopted by farmers in the Western Lake Erie basin are having positive impacts downstream, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report – by USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) – shows these practices reduce sediment losses from fields by an estimated 80 percent and reduce the amount of sediment being delivered to Lake Erie by an estimated 40 percent.

“One thing I know for certain – the benefits of conservation flow downstream,” said Leonard Jordan, acting chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “When hundreds of farms take action in one area, one watershed, it can make a world of difference. And our conservation planning and financial support provides producers a step-by-step plan to achieve those results.”

NRCS helps farmers make conservation improvements on working lands. Reports like this one help the agency better understand the effectiveness of conservation practices and how to adapt conservation approaches, Jordan said. Though there is still work to be done, this report shows that private landowners are responding to regional needs and putting conservation plans into action to improve water quality across the basin.

This is the second of a two-part report on the Western Lake Erie basin, which has historically suffered from high levels of nutrients and sediment associated with human activities in the region. The first report focused on edge-of-field losses, whereas this report focuses on sediment and nutrients entering streams, rivers and Lake Erie.

Relative to the scenario where no agricultural conservation practices were in place, the voluntary conservation practices in use by farmers in the basin in 2012:
  • Reduce phosphorus and nitrogen lost from cultivated cropland fields by 61 and 26 percent, respectively;
  • Reduce phosphorus and nitrogen deposition into the streams and rivers of the lake’s basin by 72 and 37 percent, respectively; and
  • Reduce phosphorus and nitrogen entering the lake by 41 and 17 percent, respectively.
Water quality is directly impacted by nutrients and sediment. By reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering basin waterways, farmers are doing their part to reduce the chances of harmful algal blooms that may lead to hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, throughout the lake. Algal blooms can make the lake unsuitable as a source of drinking water and recreation as well as habitat for fish and wildlife.

CEAP uses a sampling and modeling technique to yield these results, quantifying the impacts of conservation practices adopted across the region. These analyses provide scientifically-based direction for future conservation planning efforts targeting specific management goals.

Farmers use a variety of conservation practices to reduce losses of nutrients and sediment. The practices evaluated by CEAP include strategies like nutrient management, cover crops and structural erosion control. Cutting-edge technologies that use GPS and variable rate applications are also assessed.

While many Western Lake Erie basin producers have worked independently to curb agricultural runoff into the Great Lakes system over the past 50 years, recent Farm Bill programs have accelerated conservation efforts on private lands located in targeted watersheds throughout the region. Coordinated and targeted efforts through the Western Lake Erie Basin Initiative, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative and Regional Conservation Partnership Program provide additional funding and leverage partnerships in priority watersheds, including those that flow into the Western Lake Erie basin.

“Conservation applied on any acre delivers an environmental benefit, but when conservation efforts target the most vulnerable watersheds and lands, the results are even greater,” added Jordan. “We know it won’t solve the problem alone, but it’s a critical piece of the broader solution.”

The effectiveness of targeted conservation planning is also assessed in the report. These results and other CEAP assessments in the region provide another source for informing science-based conservation efforts within the basin. Upcoming assessments will continue to build upon this base.

Read the full report, titled Conservation Practice Adoption on Cultivated Cropland Acres: Effects on Instream Nutrient and Sediment Dynamics and Delivery in Western Lake Erie Basin, 2003-06 and 2012.
Published in Other
October 12, 2017, Toledo, OH – The operators of three agriculture businesses have been told to pay more than $30,000 for three large fish kills that Ohio's natural resources department says were caused by livestock manure spread on fields.

Investigators think ammonia-laden manure put onto the fields in northwestern Ohio ahead of rainstorms in August washed into creeks and caused the fish kills. READ MORE
Published in State

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