Why Manure Matters

By Falon French, Outreach Associate and Policy Researcher
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has adopted new rules for factory farms – confined feeding operations (CFOs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  IDEM’s rules are now final, but there are separate rules under development by the Indiana State Chemist that will also impact how and where manure is applied, and how much information the public can get on manure management. 

Indiana has 1,966 licensed hog, dairy, and poultry confined feeding facilities which produce millions of gallons of animal manure. When this manure is not managed properly, it can contaminate Indiana’s waterways and drinking water sources and lead to potentially toxic blooms of blue-green algae.  And, unlike commercial fertilizers, manure can carry pathogens, such as E. coli and MRSA.

Rules being developed by the Indiana State Chemist will regulate this livestock waste as a fertilizer material, when used on farms not affiliated with a CFO, but do not take into account the pathogens in manure.  In order to adequately protect Indiana citizens and our water resources, these rules need to be stronger!

Contact the State Chemist and urge him to improve the rules by:
1. Increasing setbacks from homes, schools, hospitals, and waterways;
2. Addressing pathogens in manure to protect human health;
3. Disclosing information on when, where, and how much manure is land applied to Indiana fields; and 
4. Prohibiting land application in sensitive environmental areas, such as flood plains and karst terrain.

The public comment period will end on January 7, 2012. 
If you can, please attend the public hearing on these new rules.  It will be held on December 6th at 9:00 AM.  The meeting will be held at William H. Daniels Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center (1340 Cherry Lane, West Lafayette, Indiana).
For more information or to send comments, please visit our action center!

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