County’s disservice to agriculture
After reading the article, by Seth Boyes, in the Dickinson County News, April 25, 2017, titled “Opposition greets manure management plan near Terril,” I have to say, I was taken back by the vast amount of misinformation that came from the board of supervisors meeting.
As the Director of Environmental Services for New Fashion Pork (NFP), I would have normally been in attendance; however, I was unable to join. Now, I feel I must respond to correct the mistakes and offer some facts and educational information.
New Fashion Pork (NFP) is family-owned, and was started near Round Lake, Minnesota. The owners of NFP, Dr. Brad and Meg Freking, grew up in this area and have dedicated their lives to agriculture and to the communities where NFP operates.
In 2006, NFP requested that Dickinson County develop a “Good Neighbor” policy to establish boundaries for livestock operations. Raised in the area, Dr. Freking knows the uniqueness and the special features of the county.
After two years of negotiations, the Iowa Great Lakes Association (IGLA) and the area livestock producers finalized the “Good Neighbor” policy. In June of 2008, Bill Van Orsdel, the Chairman of the IGLA announced that a historic accord had been reached between the IGLA and livestock producers. Tourism, conservation, and livestock production could coexist, creating a win-win situation.
The IGLA and livestock producers appreciated the input and vision from the Honorable Senator, David Johnson, during these negotiations in solidifying this agreement. The basic agreement created a four-mile buffer zone around the Iowa Great Lakes, allowing livestock to expand and develop new operations in the four corners of Dickinson County. NFP has honored this “Good Neighbor” policy and will continue to do so.
It was expressed that a moratorium should be imposed on the use of manure as fertilizer. To grow crops you must have nutrients, whether the fertilizer is manure (natural byproduct) or synthetic commercial fertilizer. Allow me to offer some field and stewardship practices that NFP has developed, implements and encourages other farmers to embrace as well.
• We reduce soil disturbance and improve nutrient placement, which ultimately reduces the amount of nitrogen applied by 20 to 30 percent but still achieves quality crop yields;
• Support and actively work with states and the National Resource Conservation Services to ensure best manure application techniques for better soil quality;
• NFP uses USDA recognized nitrogen stabilization products to pretreat manure to reduce leaching;
• Phosphorus management products are used to stabilize and enhance plant uptake;
• We are working with state agencies on a project regarding soil health and water quality. This project is state funded for a multi-year monitoring and verification. The results of this study will eventually be open for farmer panels to review;
• Aggressive soil grid sampling is performed to use variable rate nutrient applications, placing the right product, in the right place, at the right time;
• Multiple methods are used to monitor crop uptake of nutrients and soil nutrient removal rates;
• A large percentage of the fields in our manure management plans are tiled to improve subsurface drainage, which improve water quality. Most do not understand the positive benefits of tiling a farm field as it does improve water quality by reducing surface runoff;
• We are currently monitoring farmland by sampling the subsurface water discharging out of tile drains at multiple time periods during the year to verify best management practices;
• Note: If you would like to know more or better understand the aggressive farm practices and technologies that we are embracing and implementing, please contact us.
I was not present to share my thoughts and concerns. A pertinent question was asked by Supervisor Fairchild during the meeting. He asked the question, “who in the audience lived in Lloyd Township.” The response was telling, as it appears that not one individual at the public meeting could claim to reside in Lloyd Township.
NFP and most farmers are good stewards of the land and true conservationists. We all want clean water, clean air and safe food. NFP pursues to stay on the cutting edge of technology and we are constantly challenging our best management practices. As an environmental scientist, my personal responsibility to NFP is to ensure that we implement programs, policies and technologies in order to protect our environment. NFP is not perfect but we will not be condemned by our efforts to do things right.
New Fashion Pork