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Nutrient management has improved, state official says

by 5m Editor
21 March 2007, at 9:11am

MONTANDON, PA - The director of nutrient management programs for the state conservation commission said tighter regulations in Pennsylvania might be convincing meat processors to expand in neighboring states instead of in the Keystone State.

Doug Goodlander, director of nutrient management for the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission, speaks during the Northumberland County Conservation District’s winter conference on Tuesday

"I've had some meat processors tell me that's the case," Doug Goodlander said Tuesday afternoon during a break at the Northumberland County Conservation District's winter conference.

The tighter regulations include requirements for better documentation of what happens to livestock manure after it leaves the farm where it originates, as well as more focus on determining whether applying manure will result in the addition of too much phosphorous to the soil.

And while the tightened regulations can be difficult for farmers to comply with, they are needed, Mr. Goodlander said.

The regulation providing better tracking of animal waste closed what critics had called "the export loophole," in that previously, farmers were required to document how much manure they applied to their own fields, but were not required to explain what happened to manure that they sold to someone else.

And the focus on phosphorous is important because that nutrient is considered to be a bigger threat to the region's waterways than nitrogen, the nutrient that farmers had been told to monitor.

The changes were driven, in part, by criticism raised by community groups who'd opposed plans to build large-scale farming operations near their homes, Mr. Goodlander said.

"Those things that made technical sense, we addressed," he said.

Source: The Daily Item

5m Editor