The Original Greens

October 25, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Mark Rodgers
West Glover, Vt.
Farmers are the original environmentalists, and few professions require the working relationship with the environment that dairy farming does. We rely on water from the ground for our animals and operation. We rely on our land to produce forage and grains for sustenance and to receive the manure and wastewater from our operations to benefit the land without negatively affecting our surface and groundwater.

Enrolled in EQIP [Environmental Quality Incentives Program], we must more closely monitor the practices we already follow. Soil samples are taken at least once every three years to monitor nutrient load and gain recommendations for supplementation. Manure samples are taken annually
out of both solid and liquid storage. Manure and fertilizer application is monitored and recorded for each field, as is date and crop yield.

We do not spread manure from Dec. 1 through March 30 to avoid spreading on snow or frozen ground. We are careful not to spread too close to open water or ditches.

We make every attempt not to spread prior to or during rain since we broadcast and do not inject manure. We grow 100% grass-based forages and have been 100% no-till for several years now on any new seeding, so erosion and dust are not an issue.

We do not have covers on our manure storage, so unfortunately we have not addressed air quality concerns yet. There is no outside burning of any materials on the farm except for the occasional brush pile or our wood furnaces.

Recycling is becoming more common as our local recycling center takes more and more material. We help our local center by taking hundreds of old tires--at no cost--to cover silos. Scrap metal, old batteries and waste oil has been recycled for years.

We have taken advantage of energy-efficient equipment and lighting during new construction and retrofitting to minimize our environmental impact outside of our land base.

Rodger's September Prices  
Milk (3.81% bf, 3.15% prt): $12.94/cwt.
Cull cows: $80/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,200/head
Alfalfa hay: $250/ton
Cottonseed: $234.50/ton
Ground Corn: $186/ton

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