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Success in removing a manure pit in Polk County

Balsam Lake NRCS Service Center
Emptying the pit for the last time. This is done to remove as much manure and water as possible prior to the abandonment process.

POLK COUNTY - Greg and Karen Peper, of Polk County, are former dairy operators who decided to transition their farm to crops and a small beef herd. They own around 250 acres near Centuria.

Over the years, together they have raised hundreds of Holstein cows and also three children. The farm is located between three large lakes, Balsam, Loveless, and Long Lake, so, water quality has always been a concern for the Peper family.  

Abandoning the pit

Wall cleaning to remove all the manure/soil mix to allow for clean fill to reclaim the pit area.

In early 2015, Greg and Karen decided to sell their Holstein milking herd and transition their operation. The Pepers approached the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Balsam Lake to inquire about nutrient management and the possibility of abandoning their manure storage pit on the property.

The pit was earthen lined, built in the mid 1970s, and no longer used. Greg and Karen have no plans to transition their farm back into a dairy and they wanted to alleviate any potential animal, water, or human safety issues associated with the unused manure storage structure.

“We were able to partner with the Pepers through our Environmental Quality Incentives Program to safely empty and remove the unused manure pit, clean filling it to reclaim the pit area,” said Keith Zygowicz, NRCS Balsam Lake District Conservationist.

The results of successfully removing a manure pit in Polk County.

Greg and Karen are happy with the results.

“Working with the NRCS made it possible to reach our conservation goal of removing an unused manure pit to alleviate any potential natural resource and human safety issues; we could not have completed this project without the help of NRCS,” said Greg.