Illinois pork producers can learn all about meeting new federal manure regulations at upcoming workshops held at three locations across the state.

Workshops will be Feb. 15 at the Holiday Inn, Mt. Vernon, IL; Feb. 17 at the Metro Center in Princeton, IL; and, March 8 at the State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The workshop costs $15 with registration at 8 a.m. and the first session starting at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided. The seminar concludes at 3:45 p.m. Pre-register by calling ACES Marketing & Distribution at (800) 3345-6087.

Experts from the University of Illinois (U of I) Extension, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture will address a variety of topics including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

“Farmers can apply for Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding through the NRCS,” says Randy Fonner, U of I Extension specialist. “Getting EQIP funds to address manure storage and feedlot runoff could make permits unnecessary for some producers.”

The workshops will also debut the Illinois Manure Management Plan workbook, written by Fonner and Ted Funk, U of I agricultural engineer. The pair designed the workbook to satisfy permit requirements, meet state manure plan rules and requirements for a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan required by the NRCS to obtain EQIP funds. The workbook and CD version will be available free at the workshops.

Fonner stresses producers need to think about starting the process of applying for the NPDES permit.

“Don’t wait until the last 60 or 30 days to meet this deadline,” he says. “This is not something you’re going to get done in a weekend. Time marches on and this window is closing very rapidly.” Many producers will need to have an NPDES permit by February of 2006.