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Water Quality

Anaerobic Digestion Effluents and Processes: The Basics

Anaerobic Digestion Effluents and Processes: The Basics

Sampling Agricultural Odors

Sampling Agricultural Odors

Protecting the Water on Your Small Farm

Groundwater such as wells and surface water such as rivers and lakes are important sources of water for drinking and recreation in the United States. In recent years, reports of bacteria, nitrogen, chemicals, and other pollutants in groundwater and surface water have increased concerns about its quality. What causes water pollution? This fact sheet answers that question and discusses ways to protect water quality.

Got Barnyard Runoff?

Uncontrolled runoff from barnyards and open lots can contain nutrients and manure. If allowed to enter nearby surface water like streams and ponds, it can cause significant harm. This fact sheet discusses ways to prevent or reduce the possibility that runoff from barnyards and open lots will pollute the surrounding environment.

The ABCs of Pasture Grazing

Summary Well-managed pastures are Always the Best Crop for the environment, for the grazing animal, and for you. A well- managed pasture is a dense, healthy crop of grass and legumes that can provide a security blanket for the land, good nutrition for the animal, and more money in your pocket. Achieving a well- managed…

Manure on Your Farm: Asset or Liability?

Summary If farm animals spend any part of the year in barns, stalls, pens, loafing areas, or feeding areas, you will need to deal with manure from those areas. What do you think about that manure? Do you view it as an asset? Or, do you see that pile as being a liability? This fact…

A Horse Owner’s Guide to Good Stewardship

Summary This fact sheet provides a brief overview of some good soil and water stewardship practices for horse owners. It focuses on basic pasture and paddock management and on manure management. Two manure treatment options, composting and fertilizer nitrogen enhancement, are presented along with a method to calculate the proper manure application rate on pastures…

Small-Scale Farmers and the Environment: How to be a Good Steward

Summary Good stewardship is important for everyone, including small- scale farmers. Using best management practices can protect the environment. These practices can also improve the health and well-being of your animals and increase your farm's profits. The first step is to evaluate your farm. By adopting management practices suited to it, you can protect your…

What is Required in a Nutrient Management Plan?

Introduction As a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Final Rule, CAFO owners may be required to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Part of the process includes developing and implementing a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP). At a minimum, a NMP must include Best…

Pasture-Based Operations: Could Part of My Operation Be an AFO?

Introduction A pasture-based operation is generally not required to obtain an NPDES permit. However, if the operation includes a confinement area, this part of the operation may be considered an Animal Feeding Operation (AFO). Discharges to surface or ground waters from the confinement area could trigger designation as a CAFO. Washington has no specific requirements…

What if My Operation is an AFO But Not a CAFO?

Introduction Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) are agricultural operations where animals are housed, fed, and cared for in barns or other confined space. Nationwide, it is estimated there are over 450,00 AFOs. The vast majority of these operations do not confine enough animals to meet the definition of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) as defined in the…

Livestock Management and Water Quality

Introduction Grazing livestock produce a waste product – manure and urine – containing water, urea (ammonia), organic matter, nitrate, and bacteria.  Some of the components of manure inevitably end up in surface water. There are many reasons for adopting good manure management practices: improved animal health, increased pasture productivity, enhanced wildlife habitat, and increased land…