May 2012 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

Animal Manure Management May 08, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Looking Ahead To the June Webcast: Pork and Poultry Carbon Footprint

Livestock and poultry production has been shown to be a relatively minor contributor to greenhouse gases in the U.S. Does that mean that the industry is ignoring the issue? No way! Join us for a June15 webcast that highlights efforts from the swine and poultry producer organizations. More...

May 18: Nitrate Leaching

Do we still need to be concerned about nitrates and groundwater? Though air and climate issues have received much more recent attention, the issue of nitrates is still a thorny one, as evidenced by a recent California report implicating agriculture as the source of 96% of nitrates reaching groundwater. The May 18 webcast will take a look at several regional perspectives on nitrates in groundwater. Speakers are Marsha Campbell Mathews, UC Davis; Mark Risse, University of Georgia; Satish Gupta, University of Minnesota; and Rhonda Miller, Utah State. More...

Future Topics

July-Swine Greenhouse Gas Emissions
August 10-Phosphorus Bioavailability in Dairy Cattle
September-Pathogens (tentative)

Webcasts are generally held on the 3rd Friday of each month at 2:30 pm (unless otherwise noted)

Save the Date!

From Waste to Worth: "Spreading" Science and Solutions

A conference hosted by the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center.

April 1-5, 2013
Denver, CO

What's Going On In the LPELC?

"Waste to Worth", Virtual Tour, Air Quality Publications, Best Guess

Virtual Tour. Ever wondered what it is like to step through an anaerobic digestion facility from start to finish? In what we hope to be the first of many, the LPELC has published a virtual tour featuring innovative manure management. This tour features a regional digester in New York and was especially developed to assist classroom instructors or extension staff in enriching their classrooms or programs. Take the tour....

Air Quality Publications. New fact sheets are now available on Bioaerosols | Air Regulations | Hydrogen Sulfide. These materials were developed by the LPELC air quality team which is publishing curriculum materials for classroom and extension educators.

These join the previous recent releases in the series: Atmospheric Ammonia | Diet & Feed Management | Airborne Emissions | Managing Ammonia | Litter Amendments | Wet ScrubbersManure Storage Covers | Biofilters | Manure Additives | | Dust (video) | Dust (Particulate Matter) IntroductionDust (Particulate Matter) Management

Best Guess. Look at this photo and tell me how much this manure spreader cost when it was new. Hints are available at the Facebook page. Post your best guess in the comment section or email it to Jill. The closest guess will be recognized in next month's newsletter. Good luck! The EnvAgLeaders facebook page is part of the LPELC Beginning Farmer team.

April Winners. I think I made last month's "best guess" video way too easy--or we have really smart readers (I choose to believe the latter). The correct answer was indeed separated manure solids. We received many correct answers including those from: Rebecca White, Chuck Schwartau, Craig Baird, Mark Rice, and Frank Schneider. Karl Vandevender also had the correct guess, but was disqualified because he was standing next to me when I shot the video. Thanks to everyone that submitted a response. If you have a photo or video that would make a good "best guess" entry, please send it to

National Resources

GHG Inventory, Air Methodologies, FDA Guidance, AgSTAR Digest, Water Handbook, Sustainable Standard

GHG Inventory. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its annual greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. This version includes data through 2010. More... According to this inventory, agriculture is responsible for 6.3% of U.S. anthropogenic (man-made) GHG emissions.

Air Methodologies. As a result of the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS), EPA has released draft documents on developing emission estimation methodologies for broiler operations as well as lagoons and basins at swine and dairy operations. More... Related LPELC webcasts: Intro to NAEMS | Selected NAEMS Results

FDA Guidance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently announced a new strategy address concerns related to use of drugs in food animal production and the connection to antimicrobial resistant pathogens. More... Two specific documents that may interest our readers are:

  • "The Judicious Use of Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals" establishes the framework for phasing out production uses of antimicrobials that are important in treating humans and phasing in veterinary consultation or oversight of the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs.
  • The second document (open for public comment until July 12, 2012) will guide drug companies seeking to voluntarily revise product labels to (a) remove the use of antibiotics for production uses such as feed efficiency and growth promotion from their FDA-approved product labels More...

AgSTAR Digest. The Spring, 2012 edition of the EPA AgSTAR Digest newsletter is now posted. Great information on the state of the anaerobic digestion industry in the U.S. More... Related LPELC Resources: Cayuga County Digester Virtual Tour | Introduction to Anaerobic Digestion

Water Handbook. The U.S. EPA has updated the links in its Water Quality Standards Handbook: Second Edition. The text has not changed, only the links to additional informaiton have been updated. More...

Sustainable Standard. What is sustainable agriculture? If you ask that question, you are not alone. One answer comes from a group working to develop a sustainable ag standard. The first draft of that standard has been released. More...

Spotlight On

Troubled Water, State Program Highlights, Canadian Report, N2O Report

Troubled Water. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a new report titled "Troubled Water: Farm Pollution Threatens Drinking Water". This report focuses on nitrogen and phosphorus and considers manure along with other fertilizers.   More...

State Program Highlights

  • Illinois: The University of Illinois is developing a directory to assist farmers in finding custom manure applicators. More...
  • Iowa: Many agencies have worked together to develop a program for open lot producers to quickly and confidentially test whether manure from their lots could be reaching a stream or drainage. For more.... Fact Sheet | Video
  • Michigan: Michigan State University is starting work on a digester that will process manure and dining hall waste to generate energy for use on campus. More... MSU also recognized a St. Clair County farm as their "dairy farmer of the year" More...
  • New York: The Cornell manure management team recently hosted the "Got Manure? Ehancing Environmental and Economic Sustainability" anaerobic digester-focused conference. The proceedings are now online. More...
  • Pennsylvania: The Extension Dairy Team in Pennsylvania has gathered a list of feed management tools including checklists and spreadsheets for monitoring feed nutrient intake and its impact on manure nutrient excretion. More... The team also recently hosted a webinar on "Flies & Smells, A Management Challenge". The recording is available at their website. More...
  • Vermont. The new PBS series "America Revealed" will feature the "Cow Power" program in Vermont which uses manure from dairy farms to generate electricity. More...
  • Washington: The Whatcom Conservation District has developed a "manure advisory" website that will analyze weather data and help farmers make decisions on when (and when not) to spread manure. More...

If you have a state project or program you would like to see in this section, email the details to

Canadian Report. The World Society for the Protection of Animals has released a report "What's On Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture in Canada" which examines intensive food animal production from the perspectives of public health, rural communities, supply management, environment and animal welfare. More... A quote from page 19 of the report says that "Animal agriculture is one of the top three causes of the most significant environmental problems facing our planet."

N2O Report. A new study published in "Environmental Research Letters" examined many scenarios for reducing global nitrous oxide (N20) emissions. Nitrous oxide is a very potent greenhouse gas and agriculture is a leading source of man-made emissions. The author concludes that stabilizing atmospheric N2O will require a 50% reduction in per capita meat consumption in the developed world. More... Related LPELC Resources: Climate Change and Animal Agriculture

Jill's note: Both of the above reports cite the UN FAO report "Livestock's Long Shadow" despite the admission of a flawed comparison between agriculture and transportation (see Frank Mitloehner's LPELC webcast "Clearing the Air"). Has the animal ag industry (and us as advisors) moved too slowly in our efforts to help the public properly contextualize the relatively small footprint of animal ag compared to other sources? -end soapbox-

Events & Announcements

National Water Conference.  The Land Grant and Sea Grant National Water Conference will be held May 20-24 in Portland, OR. Registration is now open. More...

Animal Mortality Symposium. 4th International Symposium on Managing Animal Mortality, Products, By-Products, and Associated Health Risk will be held in May 21-23, 2012 More...

Have your state/regional/national event added to our calendar of events. Send them to Jill at

Manure In the News

A look at animal agriculture and manure in the news including the serious, funny, or controversial. Inclusion here does not constitute LPELC endorsement. In other words, we don't create this stuff, we just link to it.

"Farmers Fight" is a pro-agriculture advocacy video developed by students at Texas A&M University More...

The study concluding that the world needs to eat less meat (mentioned in "National Resources" above) got a lot of play in the press. Here is a sampling:

  • "Want to Save Earth? Cut Out Meat" Discovery News...
  • "Eat Less Meat to Prevent Climate Disaster, Study Warns" Guardian UK....
  • "How to Curb Discharge of the Most Potent Greenhouse Gas: 50-Percent Reduction in Meat Consumption and Emissions" Science Daily...

Go to the circus and bring home free elephant manure. More...


If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact Jill Heemstra

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