United States
Loudonville, OH — Holmes and Ashland Soil and Water Conservation Districts are hosting a meeting on August 30 at 6 p.m. at the Ohio Theater (156 N. Water St., Loudonville) to provide information and updates about winter manure management.

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.

Published in State
A new, state-of-the-art system for managing dairy manure with an all-mechanical separation process in operation at Son-Bow Farms near Spring Valley is sure to be of interest when dairy producers from throughout the region hit the road mid-July, for the Wisconsin Dairy Tours.

Son-Bow Farms, which milks 1,300 cows and operates 2,400 acres, is the first farm in Wisconsin to install AQUA Innovations' NuWay nutrient concentration system. It was officially commissioned in June. Farm owner Jay Richardson said he expects the proprietary system, when fully operational, to save the farm time, money and hassle. | READ MORE
Published in Dairy
Farmers who haul manure and custom manure applicators in Michigan may soon be able to qualify for significant reductions in their pollution insurance premiums by participating in a voluntary manure hauler certification program built around a successful model developed in neighboring Wisconsin.
Published in Associations
I was recently reminded of the famous poem by Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor; you probably know the one – First they came … It’s on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and pops up in the press when injustice or persecution is the topic at hand.
Published in Swine
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $69.9 million in grant funding to 40 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

"Dairy operations in California continue to step up to ensure the agriculture sector contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These collaborative efforts between the State, dairy operations and developers are making California a national and international leader in supporting on-farm methane reductions using climate-smart agriculture management approaches that also generate renewable energy," said CDFA secretary Karen Ross.

Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state's climate goals.

CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. Dairy digester grant recipients will provide an estimated $95.5 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2018 Dairy Digester Research and Development Program projects is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/dd.
Published in News
There are safe, research-tested, beneficial ways to use manure on farm fields — methods that put its nutrients to good use while also protecting water quality — and they're the focus of an upcoming event in northwest Ohio.

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 educators in the United States and other countries are using the #SoilYourUndies hashtag — and actual buried undergarments — as a fun way to show how crops and practices affect the activity of microbes in the soil.

"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).
For more information on the event, contact CFAES's Mary Wicks at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 330-202-3533.

The event's collaborators also include OFBF and Ohio-based Cooper Farms.
Published in News
A ban on Lancaster County farmers spreading manure during winter months is one of the measures the federal government is urging in a new forceful letter to Pennsylvania over lagging results in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

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
Published in News
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will conduct a project transforming manure and cedar mulch from waste to worth. The project is funded by a $132,663 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Leading the research will be Amy Millmier Schmidt, assistant professor in biological systems engineering and animal science, and Rick Koelsch, professor in biological systems engineering and animal science. The project is designed to provide natural resource benefits to Nebraska through increased utilization of livestock manure and cedar mulch among crop farmers.

"When manure is applied to cropland at agronomic rates using recommended best management practices, it provides agronomic, soil health, and environmental benefits," said Schmidt.

As the management of eastern red cedar trees has become a critical issue in many parts of the state, Schmidt and others have been studying practices that utilize the biomass created during forest management activities in ways that add value to this product.

"Combining wood chips with manure prior to land application could provide a market for the woody biomass generated during tree management activities and help offset the cost that landowners bear for tree removal," she said.

The team's on-farm research to date has demonstrated that manure-mulch mixtures improve soil characteristics without negatively impacting crop productivity. This new award will allow an expanded project team to demonstrate the practice more widely throughout the state, complete an economic analysis of the practice, and engage high school students in educational experiences related to soil health, conservation and cedar tree management. It will also introduce the students to on-farm research for evaluating a proposed practice change.

"On-farm research is at the core of extension and research programs at land-grant universities like Nebraska," said Koelsch. "Giving high school students hands-on experience evaluating a practice to understand how it impacts farm profitability is a unique way to improve science literacy, critical thinking skills, and interest in agricultural careers."

Outreach activities will focus on improving understanding among crop farmers of the benefits these amendments provide and motivating implementation of this new practice. The long-term goal of the project is to improve soil health properties for Nebraska soils, reduce nutrient losses to Nebraska water resources, and reduce eastern red cedar tree encroachment on Nebraska's pasture and grassland resources.

The project is one of the 105 projects receiving $18,301,819 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $289 million in grants to over 2,000 projects across the state.
Published in News
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding livestock producers to review changes made to standard animal weights that take effect in 2019.

These new weights could reclassify some livestock farms as Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), requiring those farms to adopt new levels of compliance with nutrient management laws. | READ MORE 
Published in State
Nitrogen pollution flowing out of Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico has grown by close to 50 percent over nearly two decades, a new report shows, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to stem nutrients entering the state's waterways.

A University of Iowa study shows the state's contribution to the Gulf dead zone spiked 47 percent to 618 million pounds in 2016, based on five-year running annual averages. | READ MORE
Published in News
Madison, WI - New rule revisions designed to reduce manure groundwater contamination, specifically in the northeast section of the state, took effect July 1.

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.
Published in State
Sioux Center, IA — Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges.

Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says that one of the first things to check is the structural strength of the livestock buildings, electrical equipment, and safety of the water systems. She says that the potential for flooded or spilled pesticides, fuel or oil spills and flooded grain bins should also be monitored.

Doran said taking care of animals is a priority.

She says moving cattle to drier areas is critical as wet feet can lead to foot rot and lameness. Producers will also want to watch for other signs of health issues and make sure their vaccination programs are current since soil and water-borne diseases can be present for months following flooding. According to Doran, there is also the potential for grazing animals to swallow storm debris, such as nails and staples. Consequently, cattle should be monitored for hardware disease. | READ MORE
Published in News
More than 150 farmers, businesses and agricultural leaders were on hand in mid-June as Crave Brothers Farm and Crave Brothers Homstead Cheese of Waterloo hosted a Green Energy Showcase for June Dairy Month.

The Green Energy Showcase kicked off with an overview of two bio-digesters and green energy production, and an update on farm and cheese plant activities. And of course, it was a celebration of June Dairy Month.

The idea behind the showcase was for participants to learn about the family business, sustainable agriculture practices, modern agriculture technology, animal husbandy and green energy production. | READ MORE
Published in News
Bernie Teunissen recently made a major technological investment in his 3,800-cow dairy to ensure its operations will remain sustainable long into the future.

Teunissen, who runs Caldwell-based Beranna Dairy with his sons Bernard and Derek, had been disposing of manure by vacuuming it into a 5,000-gallon tank, mounted on a tractor, and spreading it on their nearby farm fields.

But after years of applications, the family's fields were approaching maximum nutrient limits, especially for phosphorus.

To remedy the problem, Teunissen and his family installed a high-tech system that separates the solid waste from manure for conversion into a high-value - and easily manageable - compost, some of which they sell to neighbors' farms and orchards. | READ MORE
Published in Profiles
Kewaunee County, WI - Whether it is soil erosion or water quality that is burning you up inside. Identifying the county's greatest environmental concerns and how to fix them. Might hang on a few mouse clicks.

Kewaunee County's Land and Water Conservation Department is turning to an online questionnaire for the first time, and it needs your help. Options like increased animal waste management stand a chance at being popular picks. And that is because they can influence more than one category. | READ MORE
Published in News
Garden pots that are made from cow manure, containing nitrogen, and biodegradable. In the northwest hills of Connecticut is a second-generation dairy farm run by two brothers, Matt and Ben Freund, who saw the potential of the idea, and made it happen.

The brothers milk 300 Holstein cows with five robotic milking units. With the variable profitability of a dairy farm and increased regulations on nutrient management, Matt Freund started to look for other ways to be sustainable on their farm and to make better use of the manure that his cows were producing. | READ MORE
Published in Profiles
New York - The state has made $17 million available to protect and conserve critical soil and water resources on farms across New York.

Grants provided through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program will help farmers address water quality challenges in priority watersheds by supporting environmental planning and the best management practices.

The program provides grants to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts on behalf of farmers statewide. The funding will assist farms with manure storage facilities for better nutrient management, with buffer strips to prevent nutrient runoff, and with cover crops to enhance soil health. | READ MORE
Published in News
The foul scent of manure is a fact of life in the country. Sometimes it smells like home. Other times the stink is bad enough to wrinkle your nose as you urgently roll up the car windows.

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
Published in State
Recent heavy rains in southern Minnesota finds some livestock producers scrambling to stem overflow from livestock manure storage basins. Pollution problems include overflowing manure and wastewater storage structures and releases from underground and above-ground storage tanks as well as open feedlots located in floodplains or in sensitive areas where runoff can enter surface waters.

Farmers must call the Minnesota Duty Officer immediately at (800) 422-0798 (calls answered 24/7) if their manure-storage facilities overflow, if manure enters surface waters or if their manure-storage structure is inundated by floodwaters. If their manure-storage facilities are in danger of overflowing, farmers can contact the MPCA at (800) 657-3864 or (651) 296-6300 (during regular business hours) and ask for a feedlot staff person. Farmers in feedlot delegated counties also may contact county feedlot staff.

To reduce the likelihood of an overflow, feedlot operators are encouraged to divert water from manure-storage facilities if possible. Manure stockpiles located in areas that could flood should be removed immediately.

While we can't control weather, planning ahead helps to better deal with the impact of bad weather on manure management and land application. A little more investment in storage, conservation practices, and planning can be a very cost-effective form of insurance. It also reduces the risk of economic loss of nutrients from surface-applied manure without incorporation. Farmers with open feedlots should scrape-and-haul weekly if possible.

For more information about flooding and the environmental problems it can create, visit the minimizing flood risk page on the MPCA website.

Factsheet: Managing manure storage and land application during adverse weather conditions.
Published in Storage
A decade ago, Maryland's environmental regulators greatly expanded their scrutiny of densely packed animal farms, including the chicken houses that crowd much of the Eastern Shore's landscape.

Since then, the Maryland Department of the Environment has approved scores of new industrial-scale operations without ever turning down an applicant. That may change, though, as a Maryland administrative law judge's ruling has found a recently issued permit in violation of the agency's own rules. | READ MORE
Published in News
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