January - March 2003
Dan Meyer , agricultural engineering field specialist
The Department of Natural Resources instituted a new annual manure management plan program that requires producers to send in their management plans. Almost every year DNR makes changes to the rules that apply to livestock producers, making it difficult for producers to keep up with regulations, despite certification meetings. Producers who plan to expand operation to more than 500 animal units are required to send in the manure management plan or a revised version 30 days before starting construction. Producers with more than 1,700 animal units have even more paper work to complete.
Livestock producers have the option of calling the DNR directly for assistance, but most producers prefer a neutral party like extension. Specialists from extension educate producers at certification meetings on information about hauling manure if they are above 500 animal units. It is common for agricultural engineers employed by Iowa State University Extension to assist farmers on their manure management plans. This assistance is truly educational, where producers are able to find out more about future phosphorus-based manure plans and learn how to do more accurate plans. Since a lot of producers needed manure plans this spring, workshops were offered for producers to develop plans at the same time for less cost.
A total of 30 producers attended one-on-one sessions with the northeast agricultural engineer Dan Meyer in the last 12 months. A total of 36 producers attended seven workshops held in the 20-county Northeast region. One consultant, after attending, learned that he did not have to complete five pages for all 45 fields in the plan but, that instead he could drop the field number to 7 to 10. Not only was this easier, but it would also greatly reduce the client's bill. Most producers are so pleased with the assistance that they will continue to come to the Fayette county extension office to get assistance on the plan. This not only saves agricultural engineers mileage and time, it also has saves producers money. They save money by completing the plan themselves since and they learn basic agronomy nitrogen and phosphorus crop needs in the process. We have a win-win situation where the potential pollution is also minimized.
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July 7, 2006
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