Feedlot Update June 2011

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Feedlot Update

June 30, 2011

Regional CFO trainings planned for July

Training sessions for County Feedlot Officers are being scheduled at four locations during July: July 20-Detroit Lakes MPCA office; July 21-Brainerd MPCA office; July 28-Steele County government center, Owatonna; July 29-Pizza Ranch, Redwood Falls. More details will be announced closer to the dates. The schedule and other training information are found on the Training and Events webpage.

Mid-year review time for delegated counties

The feedlot delegated county program is entering the mid-year review phase. County Feedlot Officers and MPCA regional staff are requested to either meet or discuss by phone county program results to-date and to address issues that may have arisen. On-site reviews are done as a matter of practice for counties that are newly-delegated or have had recent performance issues. CFOs are encouraged to review their work plan during this time to ensure that they are on course to complete their goals by the end of the year. Basic administrative requirements include: Completed Level I land application inspection form on file for all feedlots >100 AU; a letter of notification on file for any producer that has been discovered in non-compliance; a completed permit checklist on file for any permits that have been issued including manure management plan and liquid manure storage area checklists, as applicable.

County feedlot funds still available if shutdown occurs

The main page of the MPCA website contains questions and answers about a potential state government shutdown. Regarding grants to other agencies, such as the county feedlot program, a June 27 update to the FAQ states: "If the grant agreement allows advanced payments and the grantee has received the advanced payment from the State on or before June 30, 2011, the grantee may continue the activities and duties listed in the grant agreement until the advance payment has been expended." The FAQ are intended to provide information for MPCA customers — citizens, regulated parties, grantees, local governments, and others — on MPCA services potentially affected by a shutdown.

Farmer volunteers to monitor water quality

For the past 10 years, Watonwan County farmer Norman Penner has been making weekly visits to a small bridge over the Watonwan River, about 1,000 feet from his home near Darfur, Minn. Penner, who grows corn and soybeans and raises beef cattle, is a volunteer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizen Stream Monitoring Program.  Penner and 1,700 other volunteers across the state take regular readings of water clarity at assigned lakes or streams. The information the volunteers collect aids in the MPCA’s efforts to improve water quality and ensures a long-term, continuous data record for water scientists. MPCA news release, 4/28/11. Full story.
norman penner

Manure basin maintenance timely in summer

For livestock farms with open liquid manure storage areas, now is a good time to inspect them for any necessary maintenance, such as mowing, removing woody vegetation, and inspecting for animal burrows. Intense rainfall also can impact earthen basins, and emphasize the need for diverting surface flow and nearby pooling of stormwater. Operation and maintenance details are located on the Feedlot Program forms webpage.

Get a jump on manure nutrient and soil phosphorus testing

It’s not too early to plan some required manure nutrient and soil phosphorus testing this summer. Soil samples for phosphorus can be taken anytime there is access to adequately sample a field (Examples: after an alfalfa cutting or on a late planted soybean field ) as long as there have not been recent  manure or fertilizer applications. Manure samples can be taken from covered liquid storage structures and from stockpiles later in the summer, but check the results for consistency against past results. If results are not consistent, it may be best to re-sample closer to application time. If samples have never been taken, it is best to sample during hauling. More information is available in "Land application of manure: Minimum state requirements," located on the Nutrient and Manure Management webpage.

Livestock & Poultry Environmental Learning Center News

We are (tentatively) making plans to live broadcast some of the educational sessions from the North American Manure Expo to be held in Norfolk, Nebraska on July 20, 2011. We are definitely going to record as many of the presentations as we can and post them for on-demand viewing. More information will be provided as the sessions are scheduled. Visit the Manure Expo website to view the agenda.
Ag STAR Conference. The proceedings and presentations from the sixth annual national AgSTAR conference (focusing on anaerobic digestion) have been posted. Some of the topics are funding and financing, regulations, biogas recovery systems, co-digestion, and alternative technologies. More...
Air Quality Paper. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) recently released an issue paper “Air Issues Associated with Animal Agriculture: A North American Perspective”. This paper examines each species, different air emissions of interest, and summarizes research available in each of these areas. More...
Outdoor Dairy. USDA’s Ag Research Service has completed research on the ecological “hoofprint” of dairy farms. The study compared four different systems ranging from total confinement to seasonal dairies. The study concluded that, even with lower production, the outdoor dairy had advantages in carbon footprint, ammonia emissions, and nutrient runoff. More...

U.S. offers compensation for discrimination

The U.S. Government is establishing a claims process to make available $1.33 billion or more to farmers who alleged discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) based on being female, or based on being Hispanic, in making or servicing farm loans during certain periods between 1981 and 2000.
Producers may be eligible if:
·       they sought a farm loan or farm-loan servicing from USDA during that period; and
·       the loan was denied, provided late, approved for a lesser amount than requested, approved with restrictive conditions, or USDA failed to provide an appropriate loan service; and
·       they believe these actions occurred because you are female or Hispanic.    
If they want to register their name to receive a claims package in the Hispanic and Women farmers and ranchers claims process, ou can call the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429 or register at www.farmerclaims.gov.

County Profile: Benton - Mike McMillin

Benton County may not be well-known to many people, until you mention St. Cloud, Highway 10, or the Mississippi River. They all anchor the western portion. To the east, Benton County remains very rural, dotted with small towns and farms, including 305 registered feedlots, primarily small dairy, beef, and chicken farms. While not delegated to administer the state’s feedlot rules, the county does a lot of feedlot work through the SWCD office. District technician, Mike McMillin, keeps busy with manure and nutrient management projects, Livestock Environmental Quality Assessment, and other feedlot work. In 2010, Benton SWCD channeled more than $1 million in direct financial assistance to land owners through a variety of programs. The Clean Water Fund helped 10 land owners participate in nutrient management test plots including manure application. Nearly $300,000 came from EQIP for projects including manure storage, LEQA, grazing, and fencing. Using test plots and poultry manure spreaders, chicken producers were able to reduce land application rates from about 15 tons per acre to three to five tons, Mike says. Prior to joining the Benton SWCD staff, Mike was with the Wabasha County SWCD, and also served as county feedlot officer for two years. For more information, see the Benton SWCD website at www.soilandwater.org, and 2010 annual report. http://www.soilandwater.org/Document%20PDFs/2010AnnualReportFinal.pdf
mike mcmillin

In the News

MPCA news release, 6/28/11
MPCA news release, 6/27/11
MPCA news release, 6/27/11
MPCA news release, 6/9/11
Pipestone County Star, 6/2/11
USDA news release, 6/2/11


July 20: Minnesota State Cattlemen Summer Tour, Worthington.
July 20: North American Manure Expo, Norfolk, NE More...
Aug. 2-4: FarmFest, Gilfillan-Redwood Falls. More…
Aug. 22-Sept. 5: Minnesota State Fair. More...
Oct. 18-20: MACFO convention, River Port, Winona.

The purpose of this electronic newsletter is to provide another communication tool for the MPCA and county feedlot officers. It will attempt to provide accurate, objective, concise, and timely information about the feedlot program, but not necessarily reflect official agency policy.
Please forward to anyone who might be interested in this information. If you know of anyone who would like to be on this distribution list, please send us their e-mail address. If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a newsletter topic, please contact Forrest Peterson, MPCA Willmar office, 320-441-6972, forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Thanks.