Livestock Production
January 16, 2017, East Lansing, MI – Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce that Erica Rogers recently began as an Extension educator to serve the livestock industry throughout the state of Michigan.

“I am excited to build relationships with farmers locally and statewide to help them maximize production while remaining environmentally sound as well as educating community members on the important role that agriculture plays in the food system and the steps agriculture takes daily to protect the environment,” Rogers said.

She will be based out of the Gratiot County MSU Extension office in Alma, Michigan.

A native of Michigan, Rogers’ passion for both animal science and Extension programming began at a young age through her experiences in 4-H, which carried forward as she earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University in 2012. Her dedication and interest in Extension programming led her to pursue a master’s degree in Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Animal Science, which she completed in 2017.

Rogers’ research efforts [which will be featured in an upcoming Manure Manager magazine feature] centered on environmental poultry management, focusing on discovering and promoting efficient poultry production systems that place minimum burden on the environment. Although managing manure and the by-products of poultry production are obvious endeavors, other important efforts include impacts of odor, flies and traffic (to name a few) on the environment. All of which are important to the sustainability of poultry production and processing in Pennsylvania. Rogers and her advisors, Dr. Paul Patterson and Dr. Michael Hulet, addressed this region’s industry needs for research-based information on poultry manure production and nutrient content within the Chesapeake Bay watershed through Rogers’ master’s thesis project, which investigated nutrients produced by commercial laying hens, laying hen pullets, broilers, turkeys, and breeders under changing management styles for use in the Chesapeake Bay models that determine Total Maximum Daily Loads. She presented her work at the 2017 International Poultry Scientific Forum during the International Production & Processing in Atlanta, GA, and the 2017 Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.

Through her research efforts at Pennsylvania State University, Rogers has worked with poultry integrators and visited more than 70 farms, collecting manure samples from random points and at varying depths throughout manure stacks. The manure was sampled at the time of hauling to best represent the nutrients being land applied. Due to the nature of her research, Rogers discovered a passion for helping farmers be successful in their operations and to help the community better understand agriculture’s role in protecting the environment.  

Rogers can be reached at the Gratiot County MSU Extension office at 989-875-5233 or by e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Published in Profiles
January 10, 2018, Woodstock, Ont – Manure applied to wheat crops or to forage crops can be an excellent option, but not in winter on frozen soils.

Manure application in winter should not ever be part of a manure management plan. Rather, it should be part of a contingency plan, because we all know that weather happens. Frequent rain and a late corn harvest are taxing manure storage capacities on many farms. Contingency plans are essential for manure that must be applied in less than ideal conditions. A forage or wheat field can be an ideal site for contingency plan manure application, because compaction should not be an issue, and the soil cover would help prevent nutrient runoff and erosion. Forage or wheat fields are ideal for those reasons. However, winterkill becomes a much greater risk, especially with application of liquid manure. Why? Beside the common risks – which include compaction from wheel traffic and crown damage – manure contains salts!

Salinization, the concentration of salt in the root zone, is not an issue in Ontario. Ample precipitation and drainage leaches the salts through the soil profile. However, when the soil is frozen, infiltration can’t occur. Salts in manure can then turn deadly. High sodium also has a negative effect on soil structure; making the soil more susceptible to crusting, and further decreasing the capacity for infiltration.

Livestock manure contains many salts, including ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. When accrued, they can be significant. Salt content varies from farm to farm based on livestock species, diet formulation and even the salt in the drinking water. Many manure analyses report “Total Salts” or electrical conductivity (EC) to reflect the accumulated salts. A typical hog manure (as applied basis) can have about 20 mS/cm (milliSemens/cm) or about 125 lbs of total salts per 1,000 gallons. Dairy manure average is 14 mS/cm or about 90 lbs/1000 gallons. Sodium and magnesium chloride have a working temperatures to about -15° C; potassium chloride to -4° C, while calcium chloride can work to about -23° C.

When manure is applied on frozen or snow-covered soils, the salts melt the snow and ice at the soil surface. The layer below may still be frozen, preventing infiltration. The melted, saturated layer is high in salts, toxic to roots, and more prone to erosion and runoff, and more susceptible to frost heaving. All these risks are increased where manure with high EC or total salt contents has been applied.

When contingency plan applications become necessary during the winter season, options include:
  • Late summer application to forage crops after the final cut or at the beginning of the critical harvest period,
  • Temporary storage at a neighbouring storage that has extra capacity,
  • Application to forage fields or cover crops that will be tilled or killed,
  • Application to the most level harvested fields, preferably with residue still present, furthest away from surface water, where application does not occur through water runs or “flow paths.”

Sampling manure at the time of application should be standard practice. A manure analysis that includes total salts will help to determine the level of risk if contingency application in winter is a last resort.

Published in Other
January 8, 2018, Lincoln, NE — Eight Nebraska Extension offices across the state will offer workshops in February providing livestock and crop farmers with information on how to turn manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment.

“The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality regulations and increase the economic value of manure,” said Leslie Johnson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Animal Manure Management coordinator. Participants who attend the day-long event will receive NDEQ Land Application Training Certification.

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified, and farms must complete an approved training every five years. Re-certification will be held during the first two hours of the day-long land application training. Farm personnel responsible for land application of manure are encouraged to attend for either the initial or re-certification portion of the training.

The morning portion of the workshops will consist of a two-hour program including updates on changing regulations and other manure management topics, such as protecting herd health with biosecurity. Any farm staff responsible for implementing the farm’s nutrient plan are encouraged to attend.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. A $60 fee per operation (includes one representative) will be charged for the workshops plus a $15 fee for each additional participant to cover local costs including lunch.

The re-certification portion of the workshop is $30 for each participant.

The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team, which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits.

For additional information on the workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit http://manure.unl.edu or contact Johnson at 402-584-3818 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dates, times and locations:
  • West Point: Feb. 13, 9 a.m., Nielsen Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave.
  • Lexington: Feb. 15, 9 a.m., Extension office, 1002 Plum Creek Parkway
  • Ogallala: Feb. 16, 9 a.m., Extension office, 511 N. Spruce St.
  • Scottsbluff: Feb. 21, 9 a.m., Extension center, 4502 Ave. I
  • Ainsworth: Feb. 22, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 148 W 4th St.
  • Wilber: Feb. 23, 9 a.m., Extension office, 306 W. Third
  • Columbus: Feb. 26, 9 a.m., Pinnacle Bank, 210 East 23rd St.
  • Neligh: Feb. 28, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 501 M St.
Published in State
January 5, 2018, Port Reyes, CA – The lawsuit against the Point Reyes National Seashore has stalled three park ranchers hoping to implement carbon sequestration practices to combat climate change.

The practices range from the reduced tilling of grazing lands to the restoration of riparian areas, but a condition in the suit that prohibits new or expanded uses on ranchlands managed by the seashore could prevent the ranchers from adopting them. READ MORE
Published in Federal
January 2, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – Scientists with the University of Manitoba are providing valuable information intended to help manage the risks posed by the virus responsible for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.

Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba's National Centre for Livestock and the Environment is examining the survivability and infectivity of PEDv in manure and the potential of soils fertilized with infected manure to become a vector for the spread of the disease.

Christine Rawluk, the research coordinator with the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, says the threat of the spread of this virus has increased substantially.

“When Dr. Ehsan Khafipour began the first project with MLMMI and PAMI in 2014, the incidence of the disease on Manitoba farms was minimal,” she says. “Flash forward a few years and we're seeing quite a different picture. This was the very first comprehensive study of PED survivability and infectivity in earthen manure storages. A subsequent project that recently concluded focused on PED survivability in soils following surface applications of PED positive manure.”

“The initial work showed that not only can PEDv survive our winters, the virus can potentially replicate throughout the winter in earthen manure storages,” Rawluk adds. “Their recently completed field investigations found detectable levels of the virus in soil samples collected three weeks after surface applications. But, in this study, they did not assess the virus infectivity. It was not part of what was undertaken but they see that as a critical first step to understanding the risk posed by soils receiving PED positive manure.”

Rawluk says we still need to understand the potential of the virus to survive in soil and remain infective following land application of infected manure and determine the potential of this soil to become a vector for spreading this disease.

She says planned future PEDv research will examine the survivability and infectivity when infected manure is applied to different soil types under different climate conditions.
Published in Swine
December 29, 2017, Springfield, IL – What’s next? That’s the question that Illinois livestock farmers have following a hearing on the state’s Livestock Facilities Management Act.

Livestock producers representing all sectors of production in the state told their stories of how the LMFA worked for them at the hearing. READ MORE
Published in State
December 29, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The executive director of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative says issues related to manure odor and the value of manure have resurfaced as priorities when it comes to research related to the management of livestock manure.

In March, after almost two decades in operation, the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative will disband and its activities will be rolled into a more broadly mandated provincial research organization created under the new federal provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

MLMMI Executive Director John Carney says, over the past 20 years, while the focus has remained the same, the priorities have evolved.

“The focus in the beginning and right through to today has been simply manure management in Manitoba,” Carney says. “Our focus has been consistent. From time-to-time, priorities change. For instance, in our early days, a lot of our research went into odor mitigation and management and then, for a period of time, we really focused on nutrient management and phosphorus imbalances, where there's greater nutrients produced by livestock than spread acres.”

“PED came into focus and we've done some work on survivability of the virus in PED,” he adds. “Now that conditions are right for the industry to look at some growth again, the focus is now shifting back to questions like odor management and also the value of nutrients in crop production and the economic value of manure.”

Carney notes, effective April 1, the work of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative will be amalgamated into a new research program under a single research delivery model.

He says, under the new program, the work the MLMMI has been doing will continue but will be broadened to cover all forms of agriculture related research.
Published in Swine
December 28, 2017, Decorah, IA – Four Northeast Iowa residents are requesting the Iowa Department of Natural Resources control discharges from hog confinements based on existing state law.

The four filed a petition for a declaratory order with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that asks the agency to state that hog confinement air emissions contain manure, which according to Iowa Code is to be retained in the confinement building between manure application events. The petition also asks that the DNR regulate the emissions accordingly.

The DNR has 60 days to respond to the petition. If it does not comply with the declaratory order, the petitioners plan to file a lawsuit in state court. READ MORE
Published in Swine
December 27, 2017, Adams, NY — The owner of a New York dairy and three workers suffered possible broken bones and other injuries recently after they were struck by a faulty and erratic manure hose at the farm.

The local assistant fire chief said the owner and three farmhands were emptying the manure pit on the farm using a high-pressured drag house connected to a tractor but an unspecified malfunction sent the hose flying toward them. The four individuals suffered various injuries in the accident, including broken hands, possible leg, pelvis, back, and face fractures and other “blunt force trauma” related injuries. READ MORE
Published in Dairy
December 22, 2017, Winnipeg, Man - Changes to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation (LMMMR), which take effect Jan. 1, 2018, have been approved and implemented to provide clarity and modernize regulations, Minister Rochelle Squires officially announced.

Changes to the regulation will improve clarity for both producers and department officials, while maintaining some of the country’s strictest regulatory requirements and environmental protection measures for livestock operations. Pig operations will now be subject to the same robust legislation as other livestock sectors. READ MORE
Published in State
December 21, 2017, Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that $20 million has been awarded to implement water quality protection projects on 56 farms across the state.

The funding was provided through the first round of the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Waste Storage and Transfer System Program. It supports projects that will allow livestock farms to better manage and store nutrients, such as manure, to protect ground water and nearby waterways. The program is a part of the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 which invests an unprecedented level of resources for drinking water, wastewater infrastructure and other water quality protections statewide.

"Agriculture remains a key part of New York's economy and this funding will help farms in every corner of this state protect drinking water supplies and waterways, while also remaining competitive," Governor Cuomo said. "With this program, we are supporting New York's economy and ensuring our essential natural resources are preserved for years to come."

Through the program, 61 waste storage and transfer systems will be installed on CAFO-permitted farms in 25 counties throughout the state. Grants will help offset the cost of construction, site preparation and associated best management practices. Funded projects will also help farmers meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's new environmental requirements first announced in January of this year.

The funding is being provided to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which applied on behalf of eligible farmers, in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York Regions.

"This grant program will assist dairy and livestock farmers to better protect critical natural resources and to meet the State's important environmental regulations," said New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Dale Stein. "Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are excited to partner with farmers to implement these projects and promote best management practices across the state."

New York State has more than 500 CAFO farms, most of which are dairy farms with 300 or more cows. CAFOs can also include other livestock operations such as beef, poultry and equine farms that meet regulatory thresholds. Grant funding for the CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program is available over three consecutive application rounds. The Department of Agriculture and Markets will launch a second and third application period for an additional $15 million in both 2018 and 2019.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the Department of Environmental Conservation have developed an informational document to educate communities on the importance of manure storage facilities to maintain New York State's environmental standards. Manure storage provides farmers with more flexibility to apply manure at optimum times – after a crop is harvested and when weather and field conditions present a low risk of run-off – for efficient uptake and recycling by crops. Storing manure makes it possible for farmers to better achieve a higher level of nutrient management and maintain environmental protections. The fact sheet can be found here.

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 invests $2.5 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State. This historic investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and source water protection actions will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard the State's most important water resources, and create jobs. Funding for projects will prioritize regional and watershed level solutions, and incentivize consolidation and sharing of water and wastewater services.
Published in State
December 14, 2017, Towanda, PA – Calling all farms! Get help with your manure management plan on Dec. 15 from the Bradford County Conservation District in Wysox.

Manure management plans are required in Pennsylvania for anyone who mechanically applies manure or pastures animals. The Bradford County Conservation District will hold an informal “open door” day on Dec. 15 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone needing help getting this document in order.

The Manure Management Manual is a fairly easy and short document that will not only bring you into compliance, possibly save money on your fertilizer bill, and increase yields; but will help cover you in the event of a complaint. Most information can simply be filled out by the animal’s owner. However, you may benefit from the conservation district’s help with maps and more detailed information. This “open door” day will allow anyone to walk in at their convenience and get the help they need without spending any more or less time on it than necessary.

Important to note is that these plans belong to you. There is no requirement to submit a copy of this plan to any government agency. They are for your use and are required only to be kept on file at the farm.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has been inspecting Bradford County farms in recent weeks. Your manure management plan is one of the first things they would ask to see. You want to be ready if they show up at your farm. DEP is responsible for enforcing Pennsylvania’s regulations requiring farms to implement manure management and erosion control plans.

You can call or just drop in. We will be glad to help you put the finishing touches on this plan for your farm. Light refreshments will be available. Let us help you with your manure management needs. Contact the Bradford County Conservation District with any questions at 570-265-5539 ext. 3105 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information about the Bradford County Conservation District, visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.

Published in State
December 14, 2017, University Park, PA – Changing weather patterns pose significant challenges for modern dairy farmers.

Deciding how best to react to those changes to ensure the vitality of dairy farms — while being good stewards of the environment — can present a bit of a conundrum for some farmers, especially if they are pressed for time and resources. What are the best management practices? Are there technologies that can help? Is there current research on the subject?

Now, those farmers can see sustainability principles in action with just a few mouse clicks, thanks to an interactive "virtual farm" website developed by researchers in Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension, in partnership with the project's lead, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University and the Dairy Innovation Center.

"The objective of this project is provide a 'one-stop shop' for all dairy sustainability information," said Eileen Fabian, professor of agricultural engineering and environmental biophysics in Penn State's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. "The beauty of it is that one can take a tour of a sustainable dairy farm without stepping foot on an actual farm. The resources are accessible, free and can be viewed anytime from anywhere."

Fabian explained that the catalyst for this major undertaking was a growing movement in the dairy industry to adopt practices that mitigate the negative effects of agricultural operations on the environment, while securing the future sustainability of farms.

In Pennsylvania alone, there are 6,650 dairy farms — the second largest number of dairy farms nationally — according to the Center for Dairy Excellence. In addition to producing 10.7 billion pounds of milk annually, the state's dairy industry provides 60,000 jobs and has an estimated annual economic impact of $7 billion.

"It's a tremendous industry, and its people really care about the environment and their farms," Fabian said. "Those farmers want to do their part to protect the integrity of soil, water, air and animal habitats and to keep agriculture a strong industry. And it's our mission at Penn State to help them do just that — we believe this website will really help to move the needle."

The website, designed and developed by the creative services team at WPSU Penn State, has two virtual farms: One is a model of a 1,500-cow facility, while the other is a smaller-scale operation of 150 animals. Users can click on the various aspects of the farm, such as pastures, housing, manure storage facilities, feed silos, milking facilities and more, and information related to that specific area will pop up, allowing for further exploration.

Topics include herd management, feed management, milk production, crops and soils, manure management and greenhouse gases. The site's database includes a broad range of articles, extension fact sheets, models, images and graphics. The layers of information range from exploration of the farm site with basic information to higher levels of technical and research information, data, and models.

For example, if one clicks on the manure storage facility, several links will appear, enabling viewers to scan information on manure management plans, potential hazards caused by improper treatment, preventing infiltration into surrounding water sources, and other subjects.

"The site is user-friendly, meaning it's fairly easy for users to interact at a level they feel comfortable with," Fabian said. "They can keep it simple or dig down deep and find peer-reviewed research papers."

Fabian said a project of this magnitude requires interdisciplinary collaboration, and she acknowledged the support of Penn State researchers Daniel Hofstetter, extension and research assistant in agricultural and biological engineering; Tom Richards, professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production/ecology; Douglas Beegle, distinguished professor emeritus of agronomy; and Robert Nicholas, research associate, and Chris Forest, associate professor of climate dynamics, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Now that the team successfully has launched its website, Fabian sees great potential in creating additional virtual farms, perhaps focusing on poultry production and animal welfare issues.

The five-year project received a $10 million grant from the Coordinated Ag Project Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

To tour the farm, visit virtualfarm.psu.edu. Additional information about best practices and sustainability information can be found by visiting the Penn State Extension website.
Published in Dairy
December 11, 2017, Deerfield, MA – A $5 million methane digester-power generator that went online last March is finally showing signs of being fully connected at Bar-Way Farm, nine months after the 1-megawatt generator was supposed to have been churning out electricity for the power grid.

Eversource crews were at work at the dairy farm, where farmer Peter Melnick had complained in September that the utility had failed to meet several promised dates for hooking up the methane-burning generator to the electric grid. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
December 8, 2017, Mankato, MN – The last acres of Minnesota’s corn crop are being harvested and as the fields are cleared, swine producers are getting anxious to empty their pits and lagoons. The late harvest and now the colder-than-normal temperatures are starting to close an already narrow window.

“I have not had direct contact with any pumpers in the last week or two, but I know things are going on, I know things are going slowly and I know things are quite delayed,” said Brad Carlson, University of Minnesota Extension educator, during a mid-November 2017 phone interview. READ MORE
Published in Swine
December 5, 2017, Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has refused to amend a rule regulating confined animal feeding operation emissions in the state.

Submitted to the Missouri Air Conservation Commission by a law firm for Callaway County-based Friends of Responsible Agriculture and other groups, the petitions requested changes to a regulation nicknamed the "odor rule," which requires Class IA CAFOs to implement an odor control plan. READ MORE
Published in State
November 30, 2017, University Park, PA – A new study of methane emissions from livestock in the United States – led by a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences – has challenged previous top-down estimates.

The research was conducted because serious discrepancies exist between top-down estimates that suggest the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is underestimating agricultural methane emissions by up to 90 percent, and bottom-up estimates accepted by the federal government showing lower emissions.

Top-down emissions estimates involve monitoring atmospheric methane concentrations by satellites or from air samples collected at high altitude by planes, and using models to estimate the sources of emissions. Bottom-up estimates take into account livestock populations and animal emission factors.

In their detailed analysis, researchers used a spatially explicit, bottom-up approach, based on animal inventories and feed-intake-based emission factors, to estimate enteric methane emissions for cattle and manure methane emissions for cattle, swine and poultry for the contiguous United States.

The researchers estimated methane emissions using a "gridded" approach, dividing the U.S. into 0.1 by 0.1-degree GIS units, which created cells from 31 square miles in the northern United States to 42 square miles in the southern part of the country.

"This level of detail enabled us to more accurately assess agricultural methane emissions based on activities involving livestock," explained lead researcher Alex Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition, who is a member of the current National Academy of Sciences Anthropogenic Methane Committee.

"We must have more specific information about methane emissions that combines local livestock populations and characteristics with distribution of landscape features – and a gridded inventory approach provides that," he said.

According to the EPA, the top three sources of anthropogenic methane in the United States are the combined energy sector – natural gas, petroleum systems and coal mining – which makes up 40 percent of the total; livestock, 36 percent of the total; and landfills, 18 percent of the total.

Methane emissions from livestock operations are the result of microbial fermentation and methanogenesis in the forestomach of ruminants and similar fermentation processes in manure from both ruminant and non-ruminant farm animals.

Methane is also produced from enteric fermentation in the digestive tract of non-ruminant herbivore species, such as horses, donkeys and mules, as a result of fermentation processes in their hindgut. However, "hindgut fermenters" do not produce nearly as much methane per unit of fermented feed as ruminants, so enteric or manure emissions from equine species were not included in this analysis. Neither were emissions from small ruminants such as sheep and goats, which are negligible in the U.S.

County-level, annual enteric methane emissions for all states were estimated for cattle only. A total of 3,063 counties in the contiguous U.S. were included in the cattle methane emission database.

Cattle inventories by county were obtained from the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which is the last census data currently available. Body weight data for cattle was derived from EPA records and dry matter feed intake was estimated based on National Research Council prediction equations for the various categories of cattle. Methane emission yield factors were calculated for each cattle category.

Overall, the research, which was published this month in Environmental Science and Technology, yielded total U.S. livestock methane emissions of 19.6 billion pounds per year. However, uncertainty surrounding that total is high, researchers acknowledged.

Compared with enteric methane, predicting methane emissions from manure is a more complex process and carries a larger uncertainty in the estimates, the researchers pointed out. Manure composition, type of storage facilities and manure retention time, and environment – particularly temperature – are among the factors that affect methane emissions from manure.

There is great uncertainty in both enteric and manure methane emissions from livestock, Hristov conceded. He said that research around the world has shown that variability in enteric methane emissions largely can be explained with variability in feed dry-matter intake. Nutrient composition of the feed is also important but has a lesser impact on enteric methane production.

"If methane emissions from livestock in this country really are twice as high as what is estimated now — and we don't believe they are — that would put a big target on agriculture to take measures to cut these emissions," said Hristov. "Having an accurate and spatially explicit assessment of methane emissions from livestock is critical for reconciliation of top-down and bottom-up approaches, and it's the starting point in any mitigation effort."

"Our analysis showed that the EPA’s estimates are close to reality, but there is a discrepancy in the spatial distribution of emissions. And, our research revealed a great discrepancy with global models such as the EDGAR (Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research) inventory."

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company partially funded this research.
Published in Air quality
November 29, 2017 – Liquid manure is one of your least expensive and most beneficial sources of crop nutrients. Sadly, it’s often applied to cropland as an afterthought, something to get rid of.

John Yoder, vice president of waste-handling equipment at Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., in Hills, Iowa, offers these five tips for maximizing the value of livestock manure for crop nutrients. READ MORE





Published in Other
November 28, 2017, Washington, DC – On November 22, 2017 – in response to a request from the Environmental Protection Agency – the DC Circuit Court of Appeals extended the deadline for farmers to report air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at livestock operations until January 22, 2018.

The decision postponed the effective date of the court’s April 2017 decision vacating an EPA rule that exempted these farms from certain statutory reporting obligations.

EPA is committed to providing America’s farmers and ranchers – people committed to conserving the land and the environment- the clarity needed in meeting their reporting obligations required by law,” said Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator.

The EPA sought this additional time in order to provide compliance assistance to farmers, update its guidance, and develop a more-streamlined reporting form. With the court’s decision, farmers are not required to report emissions from animal waste at these facilities until after the court issues its mandate, expected no sooner than January 22, 2018.

On April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated an EPA rule finalized on December 18, 2008, that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in two statutes, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

In response to a request from the EPA, the DC Circuit Court extended the effective date of its decision to vacate the 2008 rule to November 15, 2017. In response to a second request from the current administration EPA, the DC Circuit Court further extended that date to January 22, 2018. As such, farmers now do not need to report emissions under CERCLA until January 22, 2018 at the earliest when the D.C. Circuit Court is expected to issue its mandate.

The EPA has prepared guidance that includes links to resources that farmers can consider when calculating emissions for specific species of livestock. To view EPA’s guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on reporting air emissions from animal waste: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-reporting-requirements-air-releases-hazardous-substances-animal-waste-farms.

Published in Federal
November 28, 2017, Hurlock, MD – On Mary Lou Brown's farm in Hurlock, tractors were rolling over giant concrete pads and dumping mounds of chicken compost in her manure shed.

Things that Brown says don't come cheap.

But now, more money could be on its way. U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, recently introduced the Chesapeake Bay Farm Enhancement Act of 2017. READ MORE
Published in State
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