Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail, and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Since the ban on tail docking of dairy cattle, managing manure for cow hygiene is as automated as it has ever been.
"Automated alley scraper systems have been successfully used on livestock farms for decades to keep freestalls and cows clean," said Andy Lenkaitis, GEA product manager for manure equipment. "I work with many farmers who produce high-quality milk and have cows with long tails. They make management of their automated alley scraper systems a priority to avoid tail entanglement or animal injury." | READ MORE
The operation has also agreed to reimburse the Indiana Department of Natural Resources $1,775 for the value of damage to fish and wildlife.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says the lagoon was filled beyond capacity and overflowed into a field tile that led to Fountain Creek, causing the death of more than 3,500 fish on April 3, 2017. | READ MORE
Years ago, it was tradition for farmers to grow a variety of crops on their farm. There was limited food distribution to large grocery stores, and most of the food was grown locally. So, a farmer could be cropping cotton and sweet potatoes in one area of their farm. On another area, graze beef cattle, dairy, or chickens on forage crops like annual clovers, perennial tall fescue, wheat pasture, and native rangeland.
Pastures and hayland were rotated with crops so that the same enterprise was not on the same field year after year. Diversity of enterprises on each farm helped create stability in the production system.
With the advent of large farming equipment and commercial fertilizers following World War II, it became more efficient from a labor standpoint to grow the same types of crop year after year.
After investing in equipment to handle a particular crop like corn, farmers often became more specialized. This led to monoculture cropping, which can have positive effects on yields and efficiency. But, monoculture has some drawbacks, including environmental and social concerns.
The need for greater nutrient inputs with monoculture can lead to poor water quality underground or from run-off. Confined operations have the issue of disposing of large volumes of manure.
Interest in re-integrating farms to take advantage of the synergies between crops and livestock has increased in the past few decades. Our lab has embarked on researching such integrated systems as a way to improve agricultural sustainability.
Crop-pasture rotations are part of an integrated system. Farmers can match the energy and nutrient flows of different enterprises (i.e. types of livestock and types of crops) to meet the desired outcomes.
Ruminant livestock consume forages, often on pasture by themselves during much of the year. Animal manures are deposited directly on the land where they graze. Alternatively, they can be confined in areas during parts of the year with conserved forages, e.g. hay or silage.
Manures can also be collected from confinement areas and applied to cropland. This recycles and effectively utilizes nutrients throughout the entire system and can substantially reduce chemical fertilizer needs for cropping.
Forage grasses used for grazing often have extensive, fibrous root systems. These roots hold soil particles together. All plants take carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into simple sugars during photosynthesis.
Compared with annual crops, forage grasses form a thick mat over the soil, and can enrich the amount of carbon in soil more than annual crops. Forage legumes are capable of converting nitrogen from the atmosphere and add nitrogen to the soil as well.
The large gain in soil organic carbon under perennial pastures is a key benefit of integrated crop-livestock systems.
Pasturing is also an important adaptation strategy to overcome drought. Pastures can partially control flooding by improving water infiltration and soil health. Forage and grazing lands have historically provided a sustainable and resilient land cover. Grazing lands are rooted by a variety of grasses and forbs that serve to provide essential ecosystem services:
- Water cycling
- Nutrient cycling
- Gas exchange with the atmosphere
- Erosion control and landscape stabilizing
- Climate moderation
- Food and feed production, and,
- Aesthetic experience
Integrated agricultural systems have the potential to adapt to weather extremes. This can make them more climate-resilient than monoculture systems. For example, integrated crop-livestock systems rely on forages as part of a diversity of crop choices. These forages provide a large benefit for positive balance of carbon stored in soil. Crops grown in rotation with forages can be more profitable, since yields are often enhanced and costly fertilizer inputs can be lower. The presence of forages can reduce nutrient runoff and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.1
The diversity of farming operations in integrated crop-livestock systems reduces the overall risk of failure. By having several different crops on a farm, the risk of any one component failing is reduced.
This diversity also offers resilience of the farming system against extreme weather events and potential climate change. Greater integration of crops and livestock using modern technologies could broadly transform agriculture to enhance productivity.
Integrated crop-livestock systems can also reduce environmental damage, protect and enhance biological diversity, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Integrated systems likely provide healthier potentially more diverse foods and increase economic and cultural opportunities in many different regions of the world.
Diverse agricultural systems that include livestock, perennial grasses and legumes, and a wide variety of annual forages offer enhanced agro-ecosystem resilience in the face of uncertain climate and market conditions.
Indeed, there are many good reasons why a diversity of crops and livestock should be produced on the same farm and even the same field within a farm.
"This grant highlights the power of state and federal governments working in partnership to protect the natural environment," said EPA regional administrator, Cosmo Servidio. "Providing these funds directly to Delaware empowers the state to address its unique and critical environmental challenges."
"Over the years, there has been vast improvement in the water quality in Delaware, but challenges still persist," said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control secretary, Shawn M. Garvin. "DNREC appreciates the ongoing partnership and funding support from EPA. This grant will support investments in cover crops, nutrient management, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), stormwater retrofits, and tree planting projects that will enhance and improve water quality statewide."
The funding is provided under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes EPA to provide grants to states to implement nonpoint source pollution control programs. It will support Delaware's nonpoint source management program, focusing on watersheds with water quality impairments caused by polluted runoff.
These nonpoint source control projects include a variety of structural and non-structural best management practices, monitoring, and technology demonstrations. The funding will also support outreach activities to educate the public about nonpoint source pollution.
Nonpoint source pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground water. Sources of nonpoint source pollution include urban runoff, agricultural runoff, and changes to natural stream channels.
Congress enacted Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, establishing a national program to control nonpoint sources of water pollution. Section 319 enables EPA to provide states, territories, and tribes with guidance and grant funding to implement their nonpoint source programs and support local projects to improve water quality.
Since 2005, this work by states has restored more than 550 impaired waterbodies nationally, which includes more than 200,000 acres of lakes and more than 10,500 miles of rivers and streams. Hundreds of additional projects are currently underway across the country.
Learn more about successful nonpoint source projects at https://www.epa.gov/nps/nonpoint-source-success-stories.
Saving money time and resources by pumping your manure to your site location through a hose can be the solution you are looking for.
Attendees will learn the latest information from the Ohio Department of Agriculture regarding changes to nutrient management regulations.
In order to provide tools to deal with manure management, Rob Clendening with the Knox County Farm Bureau/SWCD will give a presentation about the OnMrk app for nutrient tracking and record keeping.
Likewise, Dr. Libby Dayton will demonstrate the OnField! app, which explains the new Phosphorus Risk Index and what it means to producers. These tools will help farmers be proactive and informed about the risks associated with nutrient management.
Pizza and drinks will be provided at no cost. Pop and popcorn will be available for purchase at the theater. RSVP to this free event by Aug. 27 by calling Ashland SWCD at 419-281-7645. Any questions can be directed to Ashland SWCD or Holmes SWCD at 330-674-2811, ext. 3.
This spring, the Bridport, Vt., farm hosted a field trial for a promising method — injecting liquid manure into grassland to reduce runoff risk of dissolved P. A shallow-slot manure injector, purchased by University of Vermont Extension, was demonstrated on Barnes' hayfields.
Barnes, who milks 1,500 cows on three farms with his son Dan, appreciates the odor reduction, plus the potential for better water quality. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
It was a rare rebuke of one of the country's rapidly growing farming companies, and comes as China sustains a years-long effort to tackle its notorious pollution problem that includes frequently calling out companies that have failed to comply with regulations. | READ MORE
On July 25, Watkins Farm in Hardin County will host Manure Science Review, an annual event showcasing new findings, practices, equipment and technology.
The expected 250 attendees will see field and indoor demonstrations and hear six expert talks.
One of the talks, by Tom Menke of Greenville-based Menke Consulting Inc., will get to the heart of matter: "Valuing Manure."
Manure's benefits to soil
Ohio State University Extension's Glen Arnold, a member of the event's planning committee, said Lemke's talk will include "information on soil quality benefits, such as improved organic matter and improved soil bacteria activity, not just the value of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potash nutrients."
Arnold, who is state field specialist for manure nutrient management systems for OSU Extension, will give a talk at the event called "Avoiding Manure Spills."
OSU Extension, which is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), is one of the event's collaborators.
How to keep weed seeds in check
Another talk at the event will look at ways to reduce the impact of weed seeds in manure, including waterhemp. A species of pigweed, waterhemp has been spreading in Ohio and become increasingly resistant to herbicides.
Ohio's waterhemp appears to have come from eastern Indiana, said Stachler, an educator in the Auglaize County office of OSU Extension, who will give the talk.
"Today it's present in nearly every county in western Ohio," he said, its seeds dispersed by birds, water, farm equipment such as combines, and livestock feed that's turned into manure and ends up spread on fields.
In Darke, Mercer, Shelby and Auglaize counties, Stachler said, waterhemp is "spreading at alarming rates."
He said his talk will share ways to limit such problems and reduce the estimated $5 to 25 per acre it costs a farmer to manage resistant weeds.
Rules, regs and limiting phosphorus runoff
Other talks scheduled are:
- "Manure Applications: Rules and Liability" by Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist with OSU Extension.
- "Reducing Phosphorus Runoff" by Greg LaBarge, agronomic systems field specialist with OSU Extension. Phosphorus runoff is a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other water bodies in recent years.
- "Regulations Update" by Matt Lane of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) Division of Soil and Water Conservation and Sam Mullins of ODA's Division of Environmental Livestock Permitting. ODA is also an event collaborator.
Revealed: Why you should #SoilYourUndies
Also at the event, Sandra Springer, western Lake Erie Basin nutrient technician with the Allen, Hardin and Putnam county soil and water conservation districts, will show why — yes — you should #SoilYourUndies. The districts, too, are collaborators on the event.
"Soil microorganisms increase plant residue decomposition, which releases plant nutrients," Springer said. "We want farmers to be checking their soil health in fields," even if it costs them their skivvies to do it.
Springer, for her part, will be displaying undies she buried in May in five fields around Hardin County: ones growing conventional corn, no-till soybeans, no-till wheat, alfalfa and hay.
They definitely won't be clean. Which is good.
"The hashtag is just something that other soil and water conservation districts are using to promote soil health," especially with kids, she said. "As far as education goes, this is our first demonstration of it on the adult end."
Field demonstrations, indoor exhibits
Other demonstrations will look at preferential flow (the uneven movement of water through media such as soils), calibrating manure spreaders, shallow tillage for applying manure, seeding cover crops using a converted high-clearance "highboy" tractor, side dressing corn with manure, center pivot irrigation and composting dead farm animals.
Indoor exhibits will share details about a rainwater and runoff simulation with cover crops; a demonstration farm showcasing best practices for reducing nutrient runoff, which includes the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) as a partner; and a demonstration farm testing the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper, or ONMRK, a record-keeping app for smartphones or tablets that lets farmers record their manure and nutrient applications while still in the field.
Register early and save
Hours for the event are 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Watkins Farm is at 18361 Township Road 90 in Forest, about 70 miles south of Toledo and 80 miles north of Columbus.
Registration, which includes coffee, doughnuts and lunch, is $25 by July 16 and $30 after that date. Participants can register online at go.osu.edu/msr2018 through July 16, or they can fill out and mail the registration form available at go.osu.edu/msr2018flier.
Attendees will be eligible for the following continuing education credits:
- ODA Certified Livestock Manager, 4.5 continuing education units (CEUs).
- Certified Crop Adviser, 3.5 Soil and Water CEUs and 2.0 Nutrient Management CEUs.
- ODA Fertilizer Recertification, 1.0 credit hour.
- Indiana Office of State Chemist, 4.0 Category 1 (Agricultural Pest Management), Category 14 (Agricultural Fertilizer Application) and Category RT (Registered Technician) Continuing Certification Hours (CCHs).
The event's collaborators also include OFBF and Ohio-based Cooper Farms.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it expects the state to forbid such manure applications on bare fields in winter when runoff is most likely.
"That would be a hardship on many of the farms" if it becomes reality, said Christopher Thompson, manager of the Lancaster County Conservation District. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
The changes, under the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, relate to Silurian bedrock, which are areas where the soil depth to bedrock is shallow and the bedrock may be fractured.
"The main purpose of this targeted performance standards is to reduce the risk for contamination in groundwater from manure applications on shallow bedrock soils," said Mary Anne Lowndes, DNR Watershed Management Section chief.
Lowndes said Silurian bedrock soils identified in the rule revisions are dolomite bedrock with a depth of 20 feet or less. The rule targets an area in the state that may include portions of Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha counties.
"Within a specified area, the rule sets forth manure spreading rates and practices that vary according to the soil depth and texture," said Lowndes. "For Silurian bedrock, the most restrictive practices apply to those limited areas with the highest risk for pathogen delivery, zero to five feet in depth, and less restrictive requirements apply in areas with five to 20 feet to bedrock."
Lowndes added that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Silurian bedrock areas will be required to comply with the standards in the new rule, when it is incorporated into their permit under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES), and a cross reference to the targeted performance standard language has also been added to ch. NR 243, Wis. Adm. Code., which applies to CAFOs subject to WPDES permitting. Non-permitted farms in Silurian bedrock areas will also be required to comply with the standards in the rule.
Lowndes added the DNR has worked with the University of Wisconsin Department of Soil Science to offer a Silurian bedrock map (exit DNR) tool that can be used to identify areas where the bedrock soil depth is less than 20 feet, and that the department is working with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and county land conservation departments on how best to implement the new rules.
The new rule is based on a long-term effort by the department to seek public input on changes to NR 151, including conducting studies, public meetings and hearings and hosting a technical advisory committee and Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup that met between 2015-2017.
Odor management rules are among the many regulations defining how animal farmers handle never ending piles of manure or the way it is spread on fields for fertilizer.
The spread of manure by Pennsylvania farmers is regulated to keep pollutants from seeping into the air and waterways.
A bill moving quickly through the state Legislature would remove an advisory panel with input on those regulations, the Nutrient Management Advisory Board, and replace it with a new panel, the Farm Animal Advisory Board, broadening the scope of oversight and changing the make-up of the members to mostly large farmers. The move minimizes the role of environmentalists, critics say. | READ MORE
It also coincided with the launch of a new, four-year effort by Dane County, called Suck the Muck, designed to literally suck a century's-worth of phosphorus from 33-miles of streams that feed the county's lakes.
Phosphorus, a nutrient found in the manure applied to agricultural fields, makes its way to Wisconsin waters (and waterways elsewhere) in runoff following rain storms. When the weather is warm, it can lead to the foul-smelling water and toxic algae blooms that plague lakes like Mendota, which is situated in an agricultural landscape.
This runoff may be getting worse, according to a recent study from researchers with the Water Sustainability and Climate Project at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With a changing climate, the frequency of high-intensity rain events is on the rise. These storms bring heavy rains over a short period of time and exacerbate phosphorus runoff from manure-covered agricultural fields, more so than scientists expected.
"Both things are bad for water quality – too much manure is bad and too many intense storms are bad, too," says lead author of the study in Environmental Research Letters, Melissa Motew. "This is a story about how one problem really compounds another problem."
Indeed, the Lake Mendota algal bloom came on the heels of the second-wettest May in Madison's recorded history, and its eighth warmest. The National Weather Service reported that May 2018 was the wettest on record for the contiguous United States.
But Motew didn't start out asking how heavy storms and manure interact synergistically to affect water quality. It was while studying legacy phosphorus in soils – the accumulation of the nutrient over time – that she and the research team noticed something interesting in the data.
"We knew that heavy rain transports a lot of phosphorus off of a field and in 2014, (co-author Stephen Carpenter, emeritus professor and director of CFL) found that a relatively small number of rain events each year were delivering the majority of phosphorus to the lakes," she explains. "We happened to notice that it seemed like when we had periods of heavy rainfall we were seeing worse water quality than we expected. It prompted us to set up this study."
Climate change is bringing more intense rainfall across the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. The 2014 study from Carpenter and colleagues showed that 74 percent of the phosphorus load in Lake Mendota is now delivered across just 29 days each year, and a 2016 study from scientists at Marylhurst University in Oregon and UW–Madison showed that annual precipitation in the Yahara watershed, which includes Lake Mendota, increased by 2.1 mm each year between 1930 and 2010.
This amounts to an increase of about seven inches of additional rain today, Motew explains. That same study also showed that while the frequency of large storm events in the region averaged 9.5 events per decade between 1930 and 1990, between 1991 and 2010, the number of large storm events nearly doubled, reaching 18 events per decade.
Using simulation models, Motew and the study team asked how more extreme rain events might interact with manure-and-fertilizer phosphorus supply on croplands to affect runoff at the level of an individual lake and the streams that feed it. That is, what happens when a given amount of rain falls on a field over the course of two hours instead of 24 hours?
"The model lets us scale up and make interesting observations from the scale of one field to the entire watershed," she says. "Models let us home in and study the process of how phosphorus moves in great detail."
Using two 60-year climate scenarios, one which assumed daily precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speeds, relative humidity and solar radiation similar to current mean annual values in Madison, and another assuming more extreme rain events, Motew's model explored what happens to phosphorus concentrations in Lake Mendota and its tributary streams under low- and high-intensity precipitation conditions.
It took into account the real-life practices of farmers in the watershed – including their typical fertilizer and manure applications and tillage practices, the amount of phosphorus already stored in the surface layers of the soil, and the composition of the land around Lake Mendota. More than half of the land surrounding it is agricultural.
Motew found that dissolved phosphorus – the kind found in manure, as compared to other fertilizers and that found in soil – combined synergistically with heavy rain events to increase the amount of phosphorus running off into Lake Mendota and its streams.
"This puts us at even greater risk of worsening water quality," says Christopher Kucharik, study co-author and Motew's former graduate advisor. "This result also has wide-reaching implications because the synergistic relationship will likely be present in many agricultural watersheds around the world, where livestock and surface water co-exist."
Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for living organisms like crops. But what it does on land, it also does in water: encourages growth of organisms like plants and algae. When they die, these organisms fall to the bottom of an affected waterway, decomposing and consuming oxygen. This kills wildlife and encourages the growth of cyanobacteria, the organism behind toxic algae blooms. In some parts of the country, it can lead to dead zones, like in the Gulf of Mexico.
Farmers in Dane County and elsewhere are already applying less manure and doing so more precisely, Motew says, and she is hopeful these strategies will help to reduce phosphorus runoff from their croplands.
Motew, who is now a research fellow at The Nature Conservancy, also thinks farmers should be a part of continuing efforts to improve water quality. "We need to partner more with farmers so we can not only improve our own research by using better data, but so we can work together and build on their ideas, too." she says. "They know the problems up-close-and-personal and can provide insights we haven't considered. We as scientists can help explore where those insights may lead."
Motew adds: "Farmers are key to solving the problem, even though they are frequently blamed. We all need to take responsibility for our food system and find ways to support farmers in better manure management."
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant numbers DEB-1038759 and DEB-1440297).
The MFO GP sets standards for MFOs in the State of Vermont generating animal waste to ensure they do not have a discharge of waste to the waters of the State and operate in accordance with their Nutrient Management Plan. Unless otherwise given notice by the Agency, all farms meeting the definition of a MFO in the State of Vermont are required to operate under the coverage of this GP.
All MFOs must follow the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) in addition to requirements outlined in the MFO GP.
The revision process focused on streamlining the MFO GP with the RAPs, removing duplicative language, and increasing the focus on nutrient management plan recordkeeping for MFOs. All MFOs currently covered, or farms seeking coverage under the MFO GP, must submit a new Notice of Intent to Comply (NOIC) within 180 calendar days from the issuance of a new MFO GP.
Hence, MFOs should submit a new NOIC by December 12, 2018. All forms referenced in the MFO GP, including the NOIC, can be found on the Agency's website (http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo) or by contacting the Agency Water Quality Division.
These forms are subject to revision so the applicant, prior to use of a form referenced in this MFO GP, should always consult the website listed above or the Agency Water Quality Division to make sure that they are using the current version.
The Agency is required to update the MFO GP every five years as outlined in MFO program rules. The current MFO GP was issued in 2012 and was therefore due for updating; the 2012 MFO GP continued in force and effect until the new MFO GP was issued. The MFO GP was established in 2007 and underwent revision for the first time in 2012. The newly revised MFO GP will be effective from 2018 to 2023.
For more information about the MFO GP revision process, to find the associated MFO GP Forms, or to read the newly revised MFO GP in full, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo
The three-year study is being performed to combat the 1.8 million tons of waste produced annually in Alabama from its $15 billion poultry industry.
Phosphorous-rich poultry litter is a big concern in Alabama and other states where the litter is used to fertilize fields. If the nutrient leaks into waterways, it can cause toxic algae blooms which can lead to deficient oxygen levels and destruction of life in the water.
The study will look at the Sand Mountain region of North Alabama and a row-crop field in Wisconsin, two large agro-ecosystems that are currently having issues with managing their phosphorous levels. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
The AQUA Innovations NuWay nutrient concentration system eases the pain of managing dairy manure with an all mechanical separation process. The proprietary system is capable of reclaiming over 50 per cent of manure as distilled water without the use of harmful chemicals.
Another by-product of the process is organic super nutrient fertilizer, which contains sought-after nutrients like nitrogen and potassium with virtually no phosphorus or pathogens. This diminishes a farmer's dependence on chemicals by allowing them to care for crops using the super nutrient water by-product during the growing season.
"The NuWay system is environmentally compliant, customizable to any dairy operation and provides 24/7 remote monitoring and support from AQUA Innovations," said Chris Lenzendorf, president of AQUA Innovations.
This technology reduces the need to haul and store manure to later be spread on fields as fertilizer, which not only minimizes the smell of manure, but also the cost of transporting it.
Jay and Kristi Richardson of Son-Bow Farms, located outside of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, are the first dairy operators in the state to embrace this innovative technology from AQUA Innovations.
"We had been looking for a system to decrease our manure hauling costs for many years," said Jay Richardson, Son-Bow Farms' owner. "The financial impact is huge for us, no doubt about it. The synergies that this system allow are not only financial but environmental and neighbor friendly as well."
Former Governor Tommy Thompson and Green Bay Packers legend Frank Winters also back the technology as partners at AQUA Innovations.
"Jay and Kristi should be applauded for being pioneers and thinking about not only how to better their farm, but also the environment," said Frank Winters, AQUA Innovations shareholder. "I truly believe AQUA Innovations' technology and process will change the way dairy operators handle cow manure, not only here in the great state of Wisconsin, but across the globe."
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Composting Animal Mortalities WebinarWed Sep 26, 2018 @ 2:00pm - 03:00pm
World Dairy Expo 2018Tue Oct 02, 2018 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
Manure Pit Death: A preventable tragedy WebinarFri Oct 19, 2018 @ 2:30am - 03:30pm
2019 Dakota Farm ShowThu Jan 03, 2019 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
2019 Iowa Pork CongressWed Jan 23, 2019 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
2019 Southern Farm ShowWed Jan 30, 2019 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm