Help on the horizon for new regs; Got just one horse or chicken? Get a plan.
WAYNE AND PIKE COUNTIES, PA — New Manure Management Regulations and Erosion Control Regulations related to agriculture have been established in Pennsylvania requiring all owners of farm animals and livestock to develop a plan for the safe disposal of animal waste. The requirement is meant to protect Commonwealth waters. Fortunately for residents of Wayne and Pike counties, help is on the way with two upcoming workshops hosted by the Wayne Conservation District (WCD).
According to PA Department of Agriculture staff, no matter the number of animals owned, Manure Management Plans (MMP) must be developed pursuant to Chapter 91 regulations relating to water quality.
Along with the development of an MMP, agricultural producers who conduct plowing and tilling or have animal concentration areas (where animals have removed the vegetation, as depicted in the photo at right) will also need to develop a Conservation Plan or Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control (E&S) Plan. This requirement stems from a November 19, 2010 revision to Chapter 102, Erosion Control Regulations of the PA Clean Streams Law.
In order to ensure that residents who farm or land apply manure are in compliance, the WCD will host training sessions on the new regulations on February 25 for equine and non-traditional farm animals at 12:30 p.m. and on March 1 for dairy and beef producers at 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. The sessions will be held at the Park Street Complex on Route 6 in Honesdale.
Experts from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Conservation Service will speak and answer questions. Copies of the new manual are available at the WCD District Office at the Park Street Complex and will be provided to attendees. Subjects to be discussed are the new regulations, winter application, manure storage and Agriculture E&S Plans. It is possible for attendees to leave the training with a completed plan.
A new user-friendly mapping program called PA Onestop is also available to farmers. The program enables users to easily map farms and cropland, mark watercourses and define setbacks and sensitive areas.
Some producers have expressed concerns about the regulations and the effect on their operations.
According to WCD manager Robert Muller, creating a plan with the help of the manual is a simple process that is not meant to be expensive or extensive. “It’s meant to make you think about where and how you’re applying manure,” said Muller. “It might seem intimidating, but only a small portion of the document is devoted to the plan. When you go through the charts, you’ll know whether you’re over or under-applying a field.”
Addressing equine manure management is new and has already stirred some worries, but WCD staff hope to alleviate this by helping horse owners to develop plans that ultimately benefit both the environment and the animals.
There is no fee to attend the workshops and lunch will be provided. Reservations should be made by contacting Heidi Ferber, WCD nutrient management specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570/253-0930. If unable to attend, copies of the manual can be obtained at the WCD office, or at the WCD booth at Dairy Days in the Honesdale High School on February 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Materials are also available online at www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=554281&mode=2. Learn more at http://wayneconservation.org.