Dane County, Farmers, Partners Team to Reduce Manure Runoff
July 13, 2017
Josh Wescott 608-266-9069
Dane County, Farmers, Local Coalition Team to Reduce Manure Runoff in Yahara Watershed
Dane County is teaming up with local organizations, businesses and farmers to continue phosphorus reduction efforts in the Yahara Watershed, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. The new public, private partnership will allow farmers to more effectively apply manure by injecting it directly into the ground, reducing the amount of nutrients that run off into local waterways.
“By using this equipment, farmers will be able to cut down on soil erosion, reduce odors, and decrease the amount of phosphorus leaving their fields,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Our partnership reflects a unified effort between local leaders and businesses to ensure the Yahara Watershed stays clean and healthy, while providing farmers with the innovative tools they need to succeed in an environmentally friendly way.”
In the agreement, Dane County and the Yahara Watershed Improvement Network (Yahara WINS) will each allocate up to $60,000 to purchase a manure tanker and Low Disturbance Manure Injection (LDMI) toolbar. Yahara Pride Farms will rent a tractor from Carl F. Statz and Sons Inc., a farm implement dealer based in Waunakee, to haul the tanker and LDMI bar across each participant’s property. Yahara WINS is led by the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District and will use funds from the Clean Lakes Alliance to finance its share of the endeavor.
“Yahara WINS is pleased to partner with the Yahara Pride Farm Group, Dane County and the Clean Lakes Alliance to provide opportunities for farmers to gain experience with low disturbance manure injection—an approach that will improve water quality by reducing the amount of phosphorus reaching our streams, rivers and lakes,” said Dave Taylor, Consulting Director for Yahara WINS.
Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led, nonprofit organization and was the first to bring this minimal soil disturbance technology for manure to Wisconsin farmers. To date, the program has covered over 3,600 acres of land and reduced 5,500 pounds of phosphorus on the Yahara Watershed using this manure technique. In 2016 alone, Yahara Pride Farms’ low disturbance manure injection resulted in an estimated 1,100 pounds of phosphorus savings from more than 1,200 acres of land.
“Farmers are leading progress toward collective water quality goals in the Yahara Watershed,” said Jeff Endres, Chairman of Yahara Pride Farms. “Managing how nutrient-rich manure is applied to farm fields is a key component to achieving these goals.”
Last year, Dane County implemented and tracked over 313 conservation practices and systems, resulting in 18,392 pounds of phosphorus being reduced in the Yahara Watershed. Under this new partnership, the manure injector is projected to reduce 1.5 pounds of phosphorus per acre of land each year.
Participants of the program will be charged a fee to cover operator costs, tractor rental, repair and maintenance, scheduling and insurance. To reduce participant expenses, Dane County developed a cost share program for individual farmers and custom haulers to purchase the LDMI toolbar. Currently, two cost share agreements totaling $46,495.50 have been approved to purchase the toolbar equipment.
The Yahara WINS Executive Committee approved the grant request to fund 50 percent of the costs for a tanker and LDMI toolbar with funds from the Clean Lakes Alliance in June. The Dane County Board of Supervisors is currently reviewing a resolution committing up to $60,000 in county dollars to match the committee’s funds.
“Clean Lakes Alliance works to raise community dollars to support important initiatives like Yahara WINs,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Executive Director James Tye. “We support innovative farm practices and know tools like this to control manure runoff are important to reducing phosphorus and promoting clean and healthy water in our watershed.”
Yahara Pride Farms will provide an annual report to the Dane County Land Conservation Division and Yahara WINS detailing treated field locations, number of acres covered, and pounds of phosphorus reduced. Previously, Yahara Pride Farms partnered with a local equipment dealer to provide a tanker and LDMI toolbar for individual farmers to use and gain experience with the technology.