By JENNIFER FITCH
9:01 PM EST, February 14, 2013
Owners of even one horse, sheep, cow or pig in Pennsylvania are now required to maintain a written manure management plan, and that’s no bull.
The conservation district offices in Franklin and Fulton counties have workbooks to aid backyard farmers and owners of larger-scale operations in developing their manure management plans.
The planning requirement from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection went into effect last October. DEP inspectors could request record-keeping associated with the written plan when investigating complaints.
Everyone with livestock is required to develop a manure management plan.
“DEP has told us if there’s one horse, they have to have a manure management plan,” said Eric Cromer, agriculture specialist with the Fulton County Conservation District.
“It’s pretty encompassing, I guess,” said David Stoner, district manager for the Franklin County Conservation District.
There is no charge for the thick workbooks that help individuals write acceptable plans. Included are sample plans, instructions, blank forms and charts.
The DEP says no water should run off into streams or ponds from what it calls “animal concentration areas.” Those areas include feed lots, barnyards and exercise areas.
If pastures have less than three inches of grass or growth, they are considered animal concentration areas, according to Stoner.
Records must include manure application rates and crop yield if it is spread on fields. If manure is exported, farm owners must include information of who hauls away manure and when.
For manure spreading, restrictions exist on areas with slopes and sections near streams and wells.
Officials with the conservation districts are helping individuals complete their forms.
“We’ve had several workshops here and have helped 100 people so far,” Stoner said.
Both the Franklin and Fulton conservation districts have been sharing information with farmers in winter meetings. Stoner said many of the large dairy farms already had plans, but equestrians are scrambling to get their plans in place.
“It’s a new game plan for them,” he said.
For more information about manure management plans, call the Franklin County Conservation District at 717-264-5499 or the Fulton County Conservation District at 717-485-3547, ext. 117. The Franklin County Conservation District is holding a workshop March 7; to register, call the office.
For more information online, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, and click on DEP Programs A-Z on the left-hand side, and select Manure Management from the list.
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