A waste of time - not... MDIA event spotlights new manure uses

January 11, 2005

ANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Dairy Industry Association's annual meeting and conference will feature presentations by national leaders in manure management.

The speakers will discuss new uses for manure as ways to better manage nutrients and increase farm revenues.

The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster, Md.

"Manure management is of particular concern to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and we are proud to work with our dairy farmers to explore profitable, alternative uses of manure," said state Secretary of Agriculture Lewis R. Riley.

The program is designed to give farmers "a clear understanding of the options available to them to manage manure," Riley said. "While most Maryland dairy farmers continue to use manure as a valuable source of fertilizer on their fields, some producers are exploring alternatives."


Curt Gooch of the PRO-DAIRY program at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., will discuss the challenges and opportunities of managing manure. He will also discuss federal clean air requirements.

Other speakers include dairy farmers Bob Foster of Middlebury, Vt., and Ted Mathews of North Clymer, N.Y.

Foster, who heads Vermont Natural Ag Products and manages his family's 350-cow operation, will discuss marketing dairy manure compost.

Vermont Natural Ag Products markets compost created from the residuals out of Foster's anaerobic digester. Foster also serves on the board of directors of Agri-Mark/Cabot Cooperative of dairy farms.

Mathews operates a 675-cow dairy operation in Chautauqua County, N.Y. To address concerns he had with odor, nutrient management and increasing farm revenue, Mathews installed an anaerobic digester recently to produce electricity for his farm.

Dana Kirk of Michigan State University in East Lansing is a national expert in phosphorus management for dairy farmers. He will provide an overview of mechanical and chemical removal methods for phosphorus in manure.

Also on the agenda is a presentation on the management of financial risk of farming through crop insurance from Dr. Wesley Musser of the University of Maryland.

"I think we have an outstanding group of speakers lined up for this conference," said Robert Ramsburg, MDIA president and a Walkersville dairy farmer.

"We really hope Maryland farmers take this opportunity to learn as much as they can about some of the opportunities that exist for many of us in manure management."

Maryland Department of Agriculture and the USDA-Risk Management Agency are sponsoring the meeting.

To register, contact Debra Spurrier at MDIA, 1-301-473-7522. A fee of $15 is due with registrations received by Feb. 3. After that, the fee is $20. The fee includes the cost of lunch.

For more information about the conference, contact Mark Powell at 1-410-841-5775.

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