Manure and the Environment

Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Manure and the Environment

Manure contains four primary contaminants that impact water quality: nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria and other pathogens, and organic matter. Achieving a nutrient balance will reduce potential environmental hazards often associated with animal agriculture. An annual crop nutrient management plan is needed to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients to sustain profitable crop production, and to balance nutrient inputs (including manure) with crop nutrient needs.

Contaminant Pathways

Water quality can be degraded by contaminants contained in manure, from water used at milking centers, from silage leachate, and from open lot runoff. These potential pollutants typically follow one or more possible pathways to water.

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Understanding Water Quality Issues

Manure contains four primary contaminants that impact water quality: nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria and other pathogens, and organic matter.

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Environmental Planning

Large animal feeding operations (AFO's) must follow regulations to protect water quality and preserve the environment. Smaller operations can help the environment as well. Livestock Producer Environmental Assistance Project (LPEAP) works with small farms to implement appropriate technologies and best management practices designed to protect water resources and our environment.

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Small Farm Issues

Many of the manure management and environmental resources and publications are written for large livestock operations. Yet, most of the farming operations in the US are small. In Nebraska, for example, nearly 70% of all beef operations are less than 300 head and 90% are less than 1,000 head.

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EPCRA Emissions Rule for Livestock and Poultry

On December 18, 2008, the US EPA published a final rule that clarified which livestock facilities must report air emissions from their facilities. Animal agriculture was granted an administrative exemption from reporting air emissions that normally occur from raising farm animals under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

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