U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently launched a new agricultural water quality pilot program designed to enhance the state’s water quality. The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification program is the first of its kind in the nation and is the product of a state-federal Memorandum of Understanding signed by Governor Dayton, Secretary Vilsack and former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in January 2012.
Under the certification program, farmers who implement and maintain approved conservation plans will be certified and, in turn, assured that their operations meet water quality goals and standards for the term of the certification agreement which lasts up to 10 years....More
Meatingplace.com reports that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached a new agreement to reduce pollution from animal operations in the Delmarva region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia....More
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the release of COMET-Farm™, a free, online tool created by Colorado State University (CSU) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) to help producers calculate how much carbon their land's soil and vegetation can remove from the atmosphere.
The tool also will also help producers calculate and understand how land management decisions impact energy use and greenhouse gas emissions....More
An extended period of wet weather this spring has led to manure management concerns for many midwestern livestock producers. Iowa State University (ISU) officials say manure storage has been a challenge this spring, and advise that the primary management goal should be to keep concentrated manure contained....More
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University today announced the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy has been completed and is available at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA)....More
A statement by former Michigan State University Extension educator Natalie Rector noting that “with rising nitrogen prices, manure nutrients are more valuable than ever,” is as true today as it was when she said it five years ago, according to a report from Christina Curell of Michigan State University Extension....More
The April 15, 2013 issue of National Hog Farmer delves into strategies for capturing manure’s value at a time when pork producers are tightening their belts to weather less-than-favorable hog prices, persistent high feed costs and escalating energy charges....More
The Midwest Nutrient Applicators Association will be holding its annual meeting on June 11 at the Hancock County Extension office in Findlay, OH. The program will feature speakers addressing legal issues for manure haulers, equipment on roadways, online tools for nutrient management and the “Four Rs” of nutrient stewardship....More
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a renewed memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement on April 25 that takes aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions through construction of anaerobic digesters and other innovative methods to reduce products previously considered waste streams from dairy production, processing and handling....More
Redoubling efforts to retrieve data on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) illegally sent to environmental activist groups in February, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a second letter this past week.
The first letter sought to retrieve the previously issued data and resend in a redacted form. The latest letter seeks to retrieve the redacted information and replace it with new, further redacted information as EPA recognized that their release still contained significant amounts of private data....More
A federal court’s refusal to agree to a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dismiss a case brought by West Virginia poultry farmer Lois Alt is being declared a victory for poultry and livestock farmers. Alt sued EPA challenging an agency order demanding that she obtain a Clean Water Act discharge permit for ordinary stormwater runoff from her farmyard, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which supported the farmer in the case....More
Calibration of manure and wastewater application equipment is essential. This is a good example of the linkage between “plan” and “performance.” How do you know what rate of manure application you attain if you haven’t tested and calibrated the equipment? Do you have records from prior seasons that show what rates were actually applied? Nutrient management plans that are part of a regulatory requirement call for calibration records. Know how to do a valid calibration and what data to record....More
When a swine producer is first confronted with the need for a nutrient management plan, his reaction might be: “Bottom line, what do I have to do?” Once he learns that a nutrient management plan has less to do with swine nutrition and more to do with tracking the crop nutrient ingredients in manure, he may be tempted to tune out the nutrient management message, concentrating instead on feeding and caring for his animals.
But it’s all connected — from feed management to manure collection, storage and land application to crop uptake. It’s a system that works together and demands attention from start to finish....More
As pork production has expanded in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, significant efforts and resources have been expended by pork producers and public and private sectors to develop and implement new manure management technology. These efforts have produced options for producers that vary in complexity and cost as well as objectively determined success....More
Manure is a byproduct of animal production and could be best characterized as the expression of an animal’s inefficient use of nutrients. If an animal was totally efficient, there would be no residual material excreted. Of course, that’s not possible or feasible in a biological system. The end result, then, is the excrement (manure) is full of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, plus other nutrients....More
University of Illinois researchers Yuanhui Zhang and Lance Schideman, both professors in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, have combined their research efforts to develop an innovative system that uses swine manure to produce biocrude oil, grow algal biomass, capture carbon, purify wastewater, and recycle nutrients. Zhang has spent more than a decade researching the conversion of swine manure and biomass into crude oil. Schideman has done significant research in the area of integrated algal systems for wastewater treatment and bioenergy production....More
As the week draws to a close, more details are emerging about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of personal data on thousands of farmers and ranchers. It has been a disturbing story all along, but this week’s admission that the personal information was indeed released to environmental activists and then, absurdly, that EPA has now asked activists to return the information they were given makes the entire tale even more unbelievable....More
A new Virginia Tech publication provides tips for successful manure injection in no-till and pasture systems. The publication features a multi-state author team and discusses equipment types and residue, sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen losses, and odors, economics and carbon....More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is looking for ways to upgrade the Phosphorus Index, a simple management tool developed during the 1990s to gauge the risk of phosphorus losses from agricultural fields. In developing a national nutrient-management policy, NRCS allowed states to modify the original index—a matrix of source and transport factors that contribute to phosphorus loss—with inputs to account for local variations in soils, climate, management and water quality goals....More
The Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) offers suggestions to help calm producers’ nerves and provide practical information to help prepare for a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) inspection. Ken Hessenius, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says even though many producers will initially respond to the news that they are about to be visited/inspected by an environmental specialist from the DNR with panic and a strong desire to go into hiding, such inspections need not be something to dread. He suggests that producers look at the inspection as an opportunity to interact with the DNR official and work toward improving the environmental performance of the facility. “Visits or inspections from the DNR can be an important tool for you to use in the overall management of your farm,” Hessenius says....More
FoxNews.com reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged that it released personal information on potentially thousands of farmers and ranchers to environmental groups. This follows concerns expressed by congressional Republicans and agricultural groups such as the National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that the release could endanger farmer safety....More
A spokesperson for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) told the Brownfield Network that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) attempt to recall the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) information it provided to environmental groups “is a little too late”....More