MADISON - Dairy and livestock producers who spread manure on their own land will need to be aware of some new changes taking effect next year. During the Professional Dairy Producers’ 2017 PDPW Business Conference in Madison, Wis., Nutrient Management and Water Quality Chief Sara Walling from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) explained that revisions are currently in the works for ATCP 50 regulations, which establish the technical standards for animal waste management and nutrients that get applied to agricultural soil.
“Nutrient management planning requirements are not just for producers who have animals, but for all farms in the state,” Walling noted. “It’s just as important for crop growers to know how much phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium are being applied to their land for the sake of keeping local waterways free from runoff pollutants.”
Among some of the changes being proposed are tighter restrictions for those who spread manure in the wintertime. In addition, animal waste should not be spread within 300 feet of a direct conduit of groundwater. And the application of liquid manure will no longer be allowed during February and March in areas designated as ‘Well Compensation Areas’ by the Department of Natural Resources or on soils with five feet or less to silurian dolomite.
In order to protect groundwater, the new provisions also state that manure should not be applied within 1,000 feet of community wells or 100 feet from non-community wells unless the manure has been treated to significantly reduce pathogens.
Meanwhile, the rule revision also includes a boost in the amount of cost-share dollars per acre a landowner can apply for. As part of the current proposal, cost-share recipients will receive $10 per acre per year up to four years. The additional funds will help producers cover the cost of higher soil-testing fees and the additional time it takes to adjust their Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) to comply with the new changes.
Paul Zimmerman, who serves as the governmental relations director for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, says the changes are currently under public review and are expected to be approved during the next DATCP board meeting in May. Pending the legislature and governor’s approval, the changes will take effect at the end of the year.
About a third of Wisconsin’s total cropland acres are currently enrolled in an official NMP.
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