Washington State Awards to Projects to Improve Dairy Manure Management

June 28, 2013 11:13 PM

Department of Agriculture provides $35,000 to help dairies manage manure, protect water.

Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has awarded grants to two projects that aim to improve manure management on dairies in two very different ways.

The grants were awarded by WSDA’s Dairy Nutrient Management Program, a water quality program that enforces the state’s Dairy Nutrient Management Act, designed to protect all of the state’s water from nutrients in the manure. The grants include:

• $20,000 to the Whatcom County Conservation District to evaluate waste storage ponds and seepage rates at dairies. Many manure lagoons in use today were built before current standards were set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. This project will evaluate older ponds and include a seepage test to see how much of the nutrients from the manure are actually leaching into the ground beneath the ponds and, potentially, into groundwater.

• $15,000 to the Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet, a network of automated weather stations operated by WSU. Applying manure to frozen ground can increase chances of manure running off the field and into nearby bodies of water. This project will gauge temperature from the top two inches of soil in the Yakima Valley through a network of probes. Farmers can get near real-time soil temperatures through a web interface or by subscribing to a soil temperature alert system to help them time their manure applications.

The grants were funded through the civil penalties WSDA issued to dairies that have violated the Dairy Nutrient Management Act. In all, six grant proposals were received. Visit here for more details on the projects that were funded.

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