MILL HALL – The Pennsylvania DEP and the Clinton County Conservation District have begun a second phase of farm inspections in Clinton County.
The purpose of this phase of inspections is to ensure that farmers’ plans are up to date and implemented. The best thing a farmer can do to prepare for this inspection is to review their plan and make sure it is up to date. To be up to date, plans should show the right types and numbers of livestock, the right crop rotations, the right farm maps, show if winter application is allowed, and contain records for things like manure exports and manure applications.
So who needs a plan?
Every farm in Pennsylvania that applies manure is required to have some type of written plan that shows how that farm will manage manure and other nutrients.
This includes both the spreading of manure by various types of equipment and the direct spreading by animals on pastures and in areas of animal concentration. There are two types of manure management plans:
– A manure management plan
– A nutrient management plan.
So how does a farmer know if they need a manure management plan or a nutrient management plan? The good news is that most farms will only need a manure plan.
However, some large farms will need a nutrient management plan. If you read some of the tips, you’ll see formulas, calculations, and terms like AEUs per acre. But here are some rules of thumb and some comparisons that will help you tell.
First of all, you must have at least 16,000 pounds of cattle. This counts all of your cows, horses, sheep, goats, ponies, mules, calves, chickens, turkeys, oxen, pigs and other farm animals.
Then you should also have an average of over 2,000 pounds of animals per acre of cultivated land that you own or lease. If both are true, you might need a nutrient management plan.
Here are some examples of farms that may need a nutritional plan:
– A farm with more than 35 cows and 25 acres of cultivated land or less.
– A farm with 75 or more cows and 50 or less acres of cropland.
– A farm that raises 2 lots of 300 calves each year with a total of 35 acres or less.
– A farm with 4 work horses, 2 team horses, 10 beef cows and a dairy cow with less than 15 acres in total of cropland, or a farm with 8 mature horses and 4 or less acres of pasture and cultivated land available.
If you are not sure, there is an easier way to tell. All you have to do is call the Conservation District at 570-726-3798 and ask for Samantha Zaner or Lexie Jacobs.
Farmers with no plans or outdated plans are not penalized or sanctioned for coming forward and asking for help. For simple manure plans, the conservation district may be able to help farmers develop or update their plan.
For manure plans that require major work or for nutrient management plans, the conservation district can provide a list of planners who work locally.
If a farmer needs the help of a planner, there will be a cost. However, to help offset the costs, the Conservation District operates a cost reimbursement program for which you may be eligible.
Call the Conservation District today at (570) 726-3798.