Welcome to the monthly update for the Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) Web site. This update is provided as a service to inform you about changes made to the IMMAG Web Page or items of interest dealing with manure management and air quality from animal feeding operations. If you wish to subscribe to this mailing please click here. You may also view this update with direct links on the CURRENT NEWS site on IMMAG.
The Current News page on the IMMAG site is updated weekly. Follow the Iowa Manure Management Action Group on Twitter at @iowamanure.
EPA Explains CAFO Fly-Over Inspections
By Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension & Outreach Ag Engineering Field Specialist
At an August 30 meeting in Arcadia, Iowa, EPA officials explained their CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) inspection process and their use of aerial fly-over methods to observe runoff issues from animal feeding operations in Iowa.
Speaking to about a hundred livestock farmers and several agency staff, Steve Pollard, EPA Region 7 CAFO compliance and enforcement coordinator, said that he takes camera photographs from a small chartered airplane as the pilot flies him over areas with high concentration of large and medium sized animal feeding operations. Specifically, Pollard is looking for signs of manure and other contaminated runoff water leaving livestock operations or manure stockpiles and heading for streams and lakes. He takes those photographs with location coordinates back to his office where he analyzes the photos and decides which sites need follow-up inspections on the ground.
In response to questions about fly-over timing and enforcement, Pollard said that the flights are scheduled for wetter times of year, typically spring and fall, when runoff issues are more likely to be apparent, but are not specifically scheduled immediately after large rainfall events. He stressed that no enforcement actions are taken based on aerial photographs without first conducting a thorough ground inspection. Several photographs were shown, illustrating the kind of runoff issues that Pollard sees from the air. He said runoff from pens and manure stockpiles reaching road ditches which then lead to streams are the most common compliance issue noted.
Trevor Urban, EPA Region 7 senior CAFO inspector, explained the procedures used in ground inspections. He stated that inspectors always call a day in advance of the inspection to make sure the operation manager is available for the visit or can have another representative available to show inspectors around. A team of two inspectors covers a checklist of points at each inspection. Urban said that farmers sometimes think inspectors are being picky over small details, but inspectors want to cover all points of potential problems so that there is never a question of why an issue wasn’t mentioned while they were there. He said all identified issues are discussed in a summary interview with the operation manager, and a written report is sent later.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Pollard and Urban answered many questions from individual producers. Pollard said that Iowa farmers seemed well aware of the environmental issues discussed. He noted that aerial observations help the agency direct inspections only to operations that appear to need improvement, and to expect them to continue.
Additional information for livestock producers regarding animal feeding operation requirements can be found on the IMMAG Plans, Permits and Regulations Web page.
Harvest 2012 is in full swing and on its heels comes manure application season in Iowa. Recently a group of state government, academia and industry professionals met to discuss fall manure application issues and to develop a list of Best Management Practices that can be used by all livestock farmers and commercial manure applicators to maximize manure nutrients for crop production and to reduce potential impacts on water quality. You can access that list at “Best Management Practices for Fall Manure Application”.
In the April 2012 IMMAG Update the Water Quality Initiative for Small Iowa Beef and Dairy Feedlot Operations was highlighted. The objective of this initiative is to assist operators of small open feedlots and small dairies in assessing feedlot and outdoor pen areas for potential runoff of manure and nutrients and to implement practices and strategies to mitigate potential manure impacts on water quality. ISU Extension and Outreach has recently completed the second producer manual for this educational outreach program “Small Open Lot Dairies in Iowa- a producer guide.” In addition, field days are being planned for later this fall so please keep tuned to this newsletter for dates and locations.
This initiative is supported by the Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, USDA-NRCS, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and is supported in part by a section 319 grant from the IDNR and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7.
Any commercial manure applicator who was certified in 2011 and has not yet attended training or taken the certification exam, must meet certification requirements prior to any manure application work this fall. Because that person was certified in the previous year, there is no 30-day exemption for training.
Any new, never been certified before, commercial manure applicators may handle, haul, or land-apply manure for the first 30 days of employment without being certified, but they must be working toward their certification requirements. Do not delay. Some Extension offices have pre-set days of the month for training commercial and confinement site applicators. Call you County Extension office to determine training dates or to make an appointment to watch the training video.
Confinement site applicators should plan to attend the required 2 hours of annual training by contacting their County Extension office to determine the training schedule or to make an appointment to view the training video. Confinement site applicators are required to attend 2 hours of training each year to maintain their 3-year license. If you miss a year of training during your three-year certification period, you will be required to take and pass the remedial exam prior to renewing your next certificate.
If training does not work in your schedule, you may contact a DNR Field Office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam.
The IMMAG Events page is a compilation of manure management related events. Please check the events page often for new listings.
The University of Illinois will be offering a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) workshop for Technical Service Providers this fall. This six-week course will be offered on-line. For more information please see: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/tsp/ or you can access the press release at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/newsdetail.cfm?NewsID=27687
The next LPE Learning Center Webinar is scheduled for September 21 and will be an open discussion about the Waste to Worth Conference, April 1-5, 2013. Denver, Colorado. Please note the deadline for abstract submission has been extended to November 16, 2012.
Have a safe harvest and fall manure application season,
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