Monday, January 23, 2012

Chained To My Desk

Nutrient Management Strategy and Plan preparation takes up a big space on my desk this time of year.  New projects are coming in a lot faster than completed projects going out.  This year it is the usual combination of dairy and poultry expansion projects.  I also am currently doing a swine barn expansion, which has been a rare event the last 10 years.  On top of that, renewal documents are required for existing clients. 

The vast majority of clients see the process as having value if, and this can be a big if, the consultant does the job on a timely basis.  The goal is always to under promise and over deliver. 

The Ministry of Environment has released their on farm inspection results from 2011.  The London MOE office has been particularly vigilant in Perth, Oxford and Middlesex counties where the majority of my clients do business.  I, along with other NM consultants in this area, have regular contact with the London office. I believe we all have a good working relationship which benefits the farmer client.  Nobody wants to be in trouble with the MOE and the MOE is not looking to make trouble where non exists.

These are the results from the MOE's inspections.

Non-compliance is the fancy term for failure. 
1.NM paper work has a requirement for an annual review.  This is a simple job.  The minimum expectation is to open the binder your consultant leaves with you and make a note that you looked at it.  Updating changes to herd size and land base gets you extra brownie points.
2.NM strategies have to be re-newed every 5 years.  If your consultant is on the ball, this is a simple task.  Get it done.
3.Keep some records of when and where you spread manure.  Regardless of NM regulations it is a smart thing to do for fertilizer management purposes.
4.Vegetated buffers along creeks need to be a minimum of 10 feet from the top of the bank.

A score of 70% on an inspection audit is considered to be acceptable with suggestions given on how to improve your score.  Scores are improving every year.  This would not have happened without the MOE following up on farmers. 

Here is the best information to keep handy when someone starts bad mouthing livestock farmers and blaming them for all the pollution problems in our water.  Manure spills are declining.  Good news and a record that while still needing some improvement, is heading in the right direction.

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