Small Family Farm Sees Big Improvements in Conservation and Production
Small Family Farm Sees Big Improvements
in Conservation and Production
Cattle feeding area with manure separator and center pivot in the
Grant County, near Moses Lake
Installation of a modern manure treatment facility and feeding area which included:
a holding tank for untreated manure, a pumping plant, separator, a large
lagoon to hold separated liquids, a center pivot to utilize the liquid. A
comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is to follow.
Washington State Conservation Commission (WCC), Moses Lake Conservation District (MLCD),
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Untreated dairy waste has historically been discharged directly behind the dairy
in close proximity to Crab Creek and other spring fed wetlands. The cows were
being fed on bare ground and mud with no stanchions to separate the animals.
Meanwhile, impending Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) regulations
threatened to put this second generation dairy out of business.
WCC's Livestock Grant Program and NRCS's Environmental Quality Incentives Plan (EQIP)
Producer James Voss acquired the struggling operation from his father who
retired in 2004. The 40-head cow operation was not profitable enough to
accomplish improvements needed on the farm to remain competitive avoiding
environmental penalties. James voluntarily came to the NRCS seeking technical
and financial assistance to help him with modernizing his farming operation. An
EQIP conservation plan was developed in conjunction with a WCC's Livestock Grant, which helped fund the improvements.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided a low interest loan to finance the
remaining percentage not covered by the conservation programs.
James has been able to increase the herd from 40, to over 150 head of cattle
while eliminating the manure pollution the farm was generating. James said "the
difference on the farm is like night and day." Manure that had been a burden on
the farm for nearly 40 years is now used as a valuable resource on adjoining crop fields. The almost fully automated lagoons, pump, separator,
and center pivot are used to spread the liquid, greatly reducing labor needed
to run the farm. As part of the project, James built a concrete feeding pad with
stanchions, increasing milk production and quality of life for the herd. James
has recently completed his EQIP contract and is extremely pleased with the
Paul Gleason, Soil Conservationist, (509) 754-2463 x 114