Workshop to Help Dairies

Prepare for Chesapeake Bay Rules

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — The majority of Pennsylvania’s dairy farms fall within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Even though the bay’s new watershed rules are not complete, the federal Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) dictates and the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) have started to affect agriculture of all types and all sizes of farms.

The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP) is recognizing the need to help dairy producers understand the implications of the impending regulations and find new strategies to manage with a special workshop beginning at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4 in Lancaster County.

The morning educational program on Dairying in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed was specifically timed to correspond with the release of the state’s new WIP and the federal EPA bay TMDLs.

As an example of how smaller farms can operate in concert with the environment, the day will include an afternoon tour of the 240-cow Spring Lawn Farm, where the owners are using technology not only to meet the challenges of the new regulations, but also to increase their profitability.

This session is very important for the many small to medium dairy farms, especially those along waterways, said PDMP President Glenn Gorrell. Lots of farms in Lancaster County have already been under the microscope, and we understand inspections are now expanding into other specific counties.

Gorrell added: Large CAFO-regulated dairy farms are already ahead of the curve in some of the practices and technologies they’ve implemented. Now, the small to medium-size farms must be prepared.

John Hines, deputy secretary for Water Management with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, will lead off the day’s session by discussing The Chesapeake Clean Water Act and Its Affect on the Dairy Industry.

In keeping with PDMP’s practice of providing meetings where dairies get information directly from those who are in the know, other speakers will be people who have been at the heart of the development of the new plan or will be charged with its implementation.

They include a stakeholders panel made up of Kyle Zieba, environmental scientist with EPA’s Region III; Don McNutt, Lancaster County Conservation District; and Kimberly Snell-Zarcone of PennFuture, a Pennsylvania environmental advocacy group.

Part of the strategy is that in addition to providing the ins and outs of the watershed plan, this session will put farmers in touch with people who can help them identify the problems on their farms and guide them to solutions, Gorrell said. We want attendees to be positioned to open beneficial dialogue with the regulators and groups who are monitoring implementation of the regulations.

Cost is $25 per person for PDMP members and $75 for nonmembers. Nonmembers may register one time for an Issue Forum at the member rate.

Online registration is available at PDMP’s website, www.pdmp.org.

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