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More on manure; WCD tackles rumors and education

April 3, 2012

In an attempt to dispel rumors and reduce concerns, the Wayne Conservation District (WCD) is renewing efforts to provide education and assistance related to the recently released Manure Management Manual in Pennsylvania with two new workshops scheduled for May 3.

Earlier this year, WCD held instructional sessions on the manual. Regulations were explained in detail by representatives from multiple organizations.

According to WCD nutrient management specialist Heidi Ferber, topics such as the mechanics of nutrient buildup in soils, its transport through erosion and pasture maintenance were discussed. Attendees left with knowledge of how to complete their plan and a better understanding of the importance of manure management.

“An attendee from the workshop for equines went home with the necessary tools and installed best management practices (BMPs) on his property,” said Ferber. To correct what is known as an animal concentration area that was stripped of vegetation, a “sacrifice lot” was created. The horses were fenced out of the area, which was then seeded and covered.

Another person visited the WCD office with concerns based on misinformation and left with an almost completed plan. “He remarked how painless and easy it was,” said Ferber.

Although the Manure Management Manual and guidelines appear to be a new law, they have been in existence since the original manual was developed in the ‘70s. Current interest is based upon the results of surveys conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which indicate the need for better management practices related to nutrient loads.

WCD officials point out that while some people fear they will no longer be permitted to apply manure, those concerns are unfounded. Other beliefs that the plans are difficult or costly to complete are also not accurate.

To assist those who must now complete plans, WCD is available to answer questions and provide guidance and resources. The new workshops are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on May 3 at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale. Call Ferber at 570/253-0930 to register. Registered participants will receive a free Penn State Soil Test. Materials are also available at www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=554281&mode=2.