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« The Real 'War on Rural Maryland' | Main | Return of the Name the Critter Contest »

02/22/2012

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I think this is a good step in the right direction. However, who is going to enforce it? The same people who enforce the nutrient management plans? This is just another ploy by our great politicians to take the focus off of what really needs to be regulated. They are wasting their time drafting legislation like this. Why attack the poor farmer. Why not attack the companies like Perdue and Tyson who "own" these farms? The farmers are contracted to Perdue. But Perdue doesn't have anything to do with the way the farm is managed. They just get to reap the benefits of buying a chicken that costs 50 cents. They have to use the feed that Mountaire or Perdue requires them to use. The feed is loaded with nitrogen and phosphorus. So much that the bird cannot even absorb the nutrients in the digestion process and excretes 3/4s of the nutrients that the feed is laced with. This also affects the health of the bird, creating an irritated intestinal tract. Its just stupid to attack the farmers when everyday idiots buy scotts turf builder and put that on their lawns during the winter. Or the fact that in D.C., Salisbury and Baltimore, the water treatment plants contribute more nutrient pollution because our tax money has gone to funding the ICC or the express toll lanes project. Omalley is a retard and I dont know why anyone would favor him. He doesn't care about the environment, he just acts like he does so he can say he is a democrat. Whatever happened to just getting the work done, and not worrying about who is liberal and who is conservative. In the end, it doesn't matter who is who when our water is crap. I grew up on the bay and trust me... its not the lowly farmer who is the polluter. MDE really has a great sediment control plan and those silt fences are really doing their job. When it rains hard, the sediment still washes off of construction sites because the highly intelligent workers (who cant speak english) dont know how to put in the silt fence correctly

I completely understand the need to restrict nutrient discharge to the Chesapeake. I also see the connection between fertilizer use and eutrophication.
But is this bill enforceable? The bill text states: "When sludge is applied to
the soil in late summer or fall, sludge application must cease and a crop must be planted by October 31. In addition, sewage sludge may not be applied to agricultural land from November 1 through February 28 unless specified conditions are met." In order to issue a citation for the first prohibition, an enforcement official would need to have solid evidence that biosolids were applied in "late summer or fall" and then follow up with each farm to ensure that crops were planted "by October 31". There are loopholes there big enough to drive truck through. What if the farmer claims that there weather factors or shipment delays that prevented planting? Also, what's the implementation plan for this? Are there enough enforcement officers and record-keeping requirements to effectively deter possible violators? Even the straight prohibition from Nov 1 to Feb 28 requires direct observation and monitoring of every affected farm.
Non-point source pollution is a huge issue for Chesapeake Bay, but i hope this bill leads to a better model for restricting discharge. At a minimum there need to be serious discussions of the enforcement of this to prevent the law from being nothing but a paper tiger. Thanks as always for your hard work on behalf of the Bay.

Good points, Bradley. I'm sure enforcement will be a challenge, just as enforcement of -- for example -- wetlands and critical areas laws is difficult. But that doesn't mean the standards shouldn't be in place -- to send a strong signal of what is right and wrong for the Bay. Many will follow it, even if all do not.

Yes, enforcement is a challenge and may not be fully implemented, but a partial tax rebate based upon inspection results could encourage the farm communities to willingly and even joyfully comply with the law. Enforcement sticks in the craw of so many who directly impact our environment because they see it as government involvement in their private activities. Turning enforcement into encouragement could change that. The staffing to verify compliance would be the same and at the same cost as the staffing to verify and enforce the law. I suggest a move to the positive side of the process.

I think the bigger issue is biosolids, not chicken manure. The majority of chicken farmers already do not apply in the late fall and the winter. More and more are storing the manure until spring as it is extremely valuable fertilizer (have you seen the price of fuel lately?). The biosolids industry and wastewater treatment plants are generally opposed to this legislation (and lobbying against it). It's convenient to ignore the problems of overpopulation in the Bay, and the nutrients from people, "biosolids", are not attributed to people, but are consider farm fertilizer by the Bay Model. Biosolids, unlike chicken manure, are frequently applied to farm fields in the months proposed for restriction by the law. The University of Delaware just completed a study showing the EPA model significantly overestimates the amount of chicken manure by one third. Furthermore, they estimate that the chicken manure that actually exists has significantly less nitrogen than the EPA model shows. This reduction is likely a product of better feed use efficiency, which reduces the volume of manure and the nitrogen content. Are environmentalists and the CBF ignorant to reality? According to the University of Delaware the chicken manure problem is half of the issue environmentalists claim it to be. If CBF or the EPA have better data regarding the amount and nutrient content of chicken manure I’d like to see their evidence.
http://www.silobreaker.com/university-of-delaware-study-argues-chicken-manure-regulations-5_2265468958347886740

Roxarsone.... WHAT DID I SAY IN THE FIRST POST.... Regulate the quality/contents of livestock/poultry feed and all of this is a non issue.

I disagree with the eailerr poster about the manure burning your plants that is simply not true with horse manure, it is not that strong. I have two horses myself and use their manure year around. It IS best to put it on late summer or early fall, so that it has time to break down and allow seeds in the manure to germinate. Then you till it all up over and over to mix it in good and kill the weed/hay seedlings. You asked if it is dangerous .no, horse manure consists of digested hay and maybe some grains its all natural. I would suggest that you try to till it into your garden as soon as possible, just because it makes the soil easier to work in if it is all mixed up nice and broken down. Worms will do the work for you fast. Like I said, if you do have some fresh manure in your compost, the biggest problem you may face is unwanted weeds sprouting up in your garden as things warm up not a big deal, just hoe them up!

Well it sounds like you're alderay Just lay your soil down and start planring.But the best wat to get your soil ready id in the fall.Make the beds for your veggies and fruits and cover it with your backyard leaves or hay .That keeps the soil furtlized.Then come spring time and you're ready to plant all you have to do is move the leaves or hay and you would alderay have your compost down(cause you layed it down in the fall) and all you would have to do is plant.That's how i do yes i put a lil bit more compost down on the beds if they really need it.Good Luck have fun growing your veggies/fruits/flowers!

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