County Board Approves Regulations for Winter Spreading of Liquid Manure
December 06, 2005
The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved an amended version of the Dane County Manure Storage and Utilization Ordinance on Thursday, December 1st. The new regulations require that agricultural producers obtain a county permit before applying stored, pumpable liquid manure on frozen or snow-covered cropland.
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said the reason for the ordinance amendment is that liquid manure applied during the winter months can pose serious runoff threats to surface waters. Snow-covered or frozen croplands may not allow for manure to be properly incorporated into the soil, resulting in manure runoff during thaws. Dane County experienced two such events in 2005 resulting in a fish kill and nutrient loading to area waterbodies.
Immediately after those two incidents, Falk had requested that Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Brett Hulsey convene the Dane County Manure Spreading Task Force. The Task Force, Chaired by Supervisor Brett Hulsey, was comprised of individuals representing a cross section of agriculture, environmental interests, and County Board Supervisors. The Task Force presented its final report to the County Board on July 7th; that report is the basis of the ordinance amendment.
County Executive Falk expressed appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the Task Force, and for their consensus recommendations. “The fact that this ordinance passed with very little debate is due to the common-sense restrictions on winter spreading of liquid manure recommended by the Task Force,” said Falk. “I am grateful for their important work in protecting Dane County waters from liquid manure runoff.”
“This ordinance shows Dane County’s river, lakes and streams can be protected and cleaned up when farmers and urban residents work together,” said Supervisor Hulsey. “This ordinance is an important next step to protect our waters that are so important to our economy, our citizens who fish, hunt, and boat, and our community.”
Liquid manure winter spreading permits must be obtained from the Dane County Land Conservation Division, and require that producers file winter spreading plans and emergency response plans with the Division. Liquid manure application rate limitations are based on the slope of the land to which the manure is applied. Any land with slopes greater than 12% will be prohibited from having liquid manure applied in winter. Additional requirements include installing one or more conservation practices such as grassed buffer strips, terraces, diversions and conservation tillage.
For farmers who might spread liquid manure during this winter season, they must notify the Dane County Land Conservation Division of their intention to do so by January 20, 2006. Farmers will not be expected to have all the conservation measures installed by this winter. Implementation will be phased in so that all plans and practices are fully in place for the winter of 2006 - 2007. The Land Conservation Division is mailing information to all affected farmers this week and also encourages farmers to call with any questions regarding the winter spreading of liquid manure at 224-3730.
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Topf Wells, 266-9069