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Dairy Farm Installs Several Conservation Practices to Protect and Improve Water

Web image: This is Terry's barnyard before he sought assistance from NRCS to address problems he saw on his farm
This is Terry's barnyard before he sought
assistance from NRCS to address problems
he saw on his farm

Full screen view

Web image: This is a different view of Terry's barnyard after receiving technical and financial assistance from NRCS
This is a different view of Terry's barnyard,
after receiving technical and financial
assistance from NRCS

Full screen view

February 9, 2012

Mr. Terry Hodnett raises dairy replacement cattle on his operation. The farm had grown steadily in animal numbers until it was nearing the regulated status of a Concentrated Animal Facility Operation (CAFO). Terry decided to visit NRCS and apply for water quality improvement funding because of the farm’s close proximity to Wiscoy Creek, a class-A trout stream, and its nearness to the Genesee River. Terry was first funded to develop a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP). The plan figured out how to manage the farm’s manure, but Terry needed additional funding to install the tools that could carry out the manure management. To install the tools (conservation practices) Terry then applied for funding though NRCS’s general EQIP sign-up, but due to a large pool of applicants and insufficient funding, he was unsuccessful. Terry’s initial application was then submitted under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-EQIP funding pool, where he ranked high enough to receive funding.

The resulting contract contained plans to install the following conservation practices: a manure storage facility, a concrete protection area where heavy use occurs, an access road, a covered feed alley, a milk house waste system to handle rinse water used to clean equipment, and planting of cover crops and riparian buffers. In addition, nutrient runoff would be contained on site and spread according to a schedule developed during the CNMP process. These conservation practices eliminate any nutrient loading into Wiscoy Creek and greatly improve water quality. Within a year, Terry was able to complete most of the conservation practices described above.

Terry, using his own funds, has gone above and beyond the required practices to address additional natural resource concerns and improve his management capabilities. The riparian buffer areas above the creek banks and around his farm pond connect into acreage under the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Debt for Nature easement program. Terry received additional grant funding to improve other areas of his farm through New York State’s Non-Point Source- Round 17 funding with Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with private landowners and communities on energy, soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife concerns. Conservation programs are voluntary and they provide financial assistance to eligible agricultural producers. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your county NRCS office.

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