Yep … The Problem is Agriculture!!??

Source: OFBF (edited)

Yeah it’s easier, let’s just blame agriculture!

Why are they allowed to put ANY sewage in the river? 

Where have the regulators been for the last 20 years?

A fine of only $29,936.00 which equals about $.00001 per gallon

Given 30 years to fix the problem – WHAT????

Maybe now we have found the real problem! 

 

Unlike permitted livestock farms, such as CAFOs, that are not allowed to discharge an ounce of manure into Ohio’s waterways, municipalities have agreements with Ohio EPA to allow for a certain amount of sewage to be dumped directly into tributaries located in watersheds that flow into Lake Erie.

For Maumee, Ohio, that agreement is 25 million gallons per year. However, due to an outdated sewer infrastructure, the municipality has actually been adding as much as 150 million gallons of sewage into the Maumee River for each of the past 20 years.

City Law Director David Busick confirmed that Department of Public Service Sewer Division employees, who keep track of sewer discharge levels, did not comply with the law when they failed to self-report the incidences of annual sewer overflow in Maumee. The City Council has since approved an action plan that requires mandated maintenance upgrades and infrastructure replacement guidelines. The city has also been fined by Ohio EPA to the tune of $29,936. which can be applied to remediation steps.

“We have always said that water quality issues are complex, involving many sources of nutrients, changing weather patterns and lack of data,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We are certainly not absolving agriculture of its contribution to this challenge or responsibility in finding solutions, but what Maumee has been doing over the past two decades is disturbing and makes you wonder if other municipalities with equally run down sewer infrastructures are having similar issues.”

During the same period that Maumee was illegally dumping massive amounts of sewage, Ohio farmers have been using new equipment and technology to maximize the placement of nutrients used for crop production. They also are following strict state regulations and participating in voluntary water quality programs like H2Ohio find better management practices to minimize the amount of nutrient runoff from farm fields and into the watershed.

“Farmers have been heavily scrutinized for their impact on Lake Erie and have answered that criticism with unprecedented efforts to help solve the problem. It is time to hold municipal administrations and their wastewater facilities to the same standards,” Sharp said. “If a city’s wastewater infrastructure is failing, those issues should be addressed immediately with the same urgent action Ohio agriculture has taken to protect Ohio’s water quality.”

 

Winter Application of Manure-Remember Setbacks

Source:  Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Some Ohio livestock producers will be looking to apply manure to farm fields frozen enough to support application equipment. Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Thus, this article is for non-permitted livestock operations.

In the Grand Lake St Marys watershed, the winter manure application ban from December 15th to March 1st is still in effect. Thus, no manure application would normally be allowed from now until March 1st. The ban also prohibits surface manure application anytime the ground is frozen or snow-covered in that watershed.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed, the surface application of manure to frozen and snow-covered soils require there to be a growing crop in the field. This could be a pasture, alfalfa, clover, wheat, or a ryegrass crop. There must be enough vegetation visible to provide a 90% cover of residue and growing vegetation. Radishes and oats would not qualify as a growing crop as both are typically winter killed. Manure can be applied to fields without growing crops if the manure is incorporated at the time of application or incorporated within 24 hours of application.

The rainfall rule for surface manure application in the WLEB is a weather forecast saying “not greater than a 50% chance of a half inch or more of rain in the next 24 hours”.  It is advisable to print out the weather forecast when you start applying manure so you have the needed proof if an unexpected storm drenches the area. Weather.gov is the most commonly accepted website for this forecast. On this web page, you can type in the zip code and get a seven-day forecast. On the lower right-hand side of the seven-day forecast page, is an hourly weather forecast that will provide a 48-hour weather forecast graph.

Winter manure application rates should follow the NRCS 590 standards, which limit solid manure application amounts to five tons per acre and liquid manure application amounts to 5,000 gallons per acre. The standards have 200 foot setback distances from ditches, streams and creeks and must be on slopes of less than 6% and less than 20 acre areas in size without additional buffers. These setbacks exist because as snow melts, it can carry manure to streams and ditches. These 200 foot setback distances apply to both liquid and solid manure application. In recent years there have been several fines levied against livestock producers applying manure too close to ditches and streams.

As always, examine fields for tile blowouts, monitor tile outlets before, during, and after manure application.

 

Poultry Litter Application

Source: Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Stockpiles of poultry litter can be seen in farm fields across Ohio. While common each year in wheat stubble fields, there also many stockpiles in soybean fields. Poultry litter is an excellent source of plant nutrients and readily available in most parts of the state.

Poultry litter can be from laying hens, pullets, broilers, finished turkeys, turkey hens, or poults. Most of the poultry litter in the state comes from laying hens and turkey finishers. Typical nutrient ranges in poultry litter can be from 45 to 57 pounds of nitrogen, 45 to 70 pounds of P2O5, and 45 to 55 pounds of K2O per ton. The typical application rate is two tons per acre which fits nicely with the P2O5 needs of a two-year corn/soybean rotation.

Like all manure sources, the moisture content of the poultry litter greatly influences the amount of nutrients per ton. Handlers of poultry litter have manure analysis sheets indicating the nutrient content. They are also required to inspect stockpiles and address any insect issues that may develop from the time stockpiles are created to the time the manure is field applied.

Poultry manure for permitted operations needs to follow the Natural Resource Conservation Service 590 standards when being stockpiled prior to spreading. These include:

– 500 feet from neighbors

– 300 feet from streams, grassed waterways, wells, ponds, or tile inlets

– not on occasionally or frequently flooded soils

– stored for not more than eight months

– not located on slopes greater than six percent

– located on soils that are deep to bedrock (greater than 40 inches to bedrock)

Farmers who want to apply the poultry litter delivered to their fields are required by Ohio law to have a fertilizer license, Certified Livestock Manager certificate, or be a Certified Crop Advisor. Check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District for proper setbacks from steams, ditches and wells when applying poultry litter.

Poultry Litter Applications

Source: Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Stockpiles of poultry litter can be seen in farm fields across Ohio. While common each year in wheat stubble fields, there are also stockpiles showing up in preventative plant fields.

Poultry litter is an excellent source of plant nutrients and readily available in most parts of the state.  Poultry litter can be from laying hens, pullets, broilers, finished turkeys, turkey hens, or poults. Most of the poultry litter in the state comes from laying hens and turkey finishers. Typical nutrient ranges in poultry litter can be from 45 to 57 pounds of nitrogen, 45 to 70 pounds of P2O5, and 45 to 55 pounds of K2O per ton. The typical application rate is two tons per acre which fits nicely with the P2O5 needs of a two-year corn/soybean rotation.

Like all manures, the moisture content of the poultry litter greatly influences the amount of nutrients per ton. Handlers of poultry litter have manure analysis sheets indicating the nutrient content.

Poultry manure for permitted operations needs to follow the Natural Resource Conservation Service 590 standards when being stockpiled prior to spreading. These include:

– 500 feet from neighbors

– 300 feet from streams, grassed waterways, wells, ponds, or tile inlets

– not on occasionally or frequently flooded soils

– stored for not more than eight months

– not located on slopes greater than six percent

– located on soils that are deep to bedrock (greater than 40 inches to bedrock)

Farmers who want to apply the poultry litter delivered to their fields are required by Ohio law to have a fertilizer license, Certified Livestock Manager certificate, or be a Certified Crop Advisor. Check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District for proper setbacks from steams, ditches and wells when applying poultry litter.

Fertilizer License and Poultry Litter

Source: Glen Arnold, Field Specialist, OSU Extension (edited)

 

This winter there have been a few questions  about fertilizer license and spreading poultry manure.  According to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), passed a few years ago, any farmer handling, receiving, or applying poultry litter (or any other manure) from a PERMITTED farm in Ohio must have either a fertilizer license or a Certified Livestock Manager certificate or be a Certified Crop Advisor.  If you have nay questions, call the Knox County Extension Office at 740-397-0401.

Ohio Agricultural Law Blog–In the Weeds: Taking a Closer Look at the Lake Erie Bill of Rights

Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program

If You Are Involved in Agriculture – You Need to Read This!!

Lake Erie once again made headlines when the Ohio Supreme Court recently decided that a “Lake Erie Bill of Rights” (LEBOR) initiative could be placed on the Toledo ballot on February 26, 2019.  The decision raised alarm in Ohio’s agricultural community and fears that, if passed, the measure will result in litigation for farmers in the Lake Erie watershed.

The OSU Extension Agricultural and Resource Law Program took a close look at LEBOR.  Specifically, we wanted to know:

  • What does Toledo’s Lake Erie Bill of Rights petition mean?
  • What does the petition language say?
  • What happened in the legal challenges to keep the petition off the ballot?
  • Have similar efforts been successful, and if not, why not?
  • Who has rights in Lake Erie?
  • What rights do business entities have?

We examine all of these questions, plus a number of frequently asked questions, in a new format called “In the Weeds.”  While many of our readers know of our blog posts and law bulletins, explaining this issue required something different.  Using “In the Weeds” is a way for us to dig into a current legal issue more in depth.

For answers to the questions above and more, CLICK HERE to view the new “In the Weeds: The Lake Erie Bill of Rights Ballot Initiative.”

Watersheds in Distress – New Reg’s Coming

Governor John Kasich signed an executive order on July 11, 2018 directing the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to “consider whether it is appropriate to seek the consent of the Ohio Soil and Water Commission (OSWC) to designate” certain watersheds “as watersheds in distress due to increased nutrient levels resulting from phosphorous attached to soil sediment.”  Since that time, ODA has submitted a proposed rule dealing with Watersheds in Distress.  Amendments were made to the proposed rule after evaluating the first set of public comments, and ODA is now resubmitting the rules package.

 Highlights of the Department’s revisions include the following changes:
  1. Make the proposed rule mirror the existing standards in the Revised Code that govern the application of manure and fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered and rain-soaked ground in the Western Basin.  These standards were enacted in Senate Bill 1 of the 131st General Assembly;
  2. Remove the manure application prohibition window for Grand Lake Saint Marys;
  3. Give the Director more flexibility in establishing the deadline for the submission and approval of nutrient management plans;
  4. Allow farmers to attest to the completion of their nutrient management plans by the deadline, while maintaining Ohio Department of Agriculture oversight to verify the completion and incorporation of a nutrient management plan.

A draft of the newly amended proposed rules is available here.

Timing Manure Application to Avoid Neighbor Nuisances

As we move closer to fall harvest and begin to plan for fall manure applications I thought this article “Timing Manure Application to Avoid Neighbor Nuisances” by Rick Koelsch, University of Nebraska might be of some interest.  The biggest complaint I hear from neighbors near livestock facilities is the manure smell during and after spreading. In “today’s world” ( see whats going on in North Carolina) anything we can do to maintain good neighbor relations will be a benefit to our operations!  As farmers we need to do our part to be a good neighbor as well.  This article provides some useful insight and options to consider when making manure applications throughout the year.