Best Management Practices – Facilities

Like pieces of a puzzle, best management practices developed and implemented should be part of a system and whole farm plan for building soil health, conserving water, reducing any potential environmental impact, enhancing competitiveness, and strengthening farm profitability and viability. Farm facilities as a best management practice should fit with and complement livestock and cropping systems to enhance efficiency, while also reducing potential adverse environmental impacts from heavy rains and storm events that can cause soil erosion and nutrient runoff.

For updates on technical assistance and current programs available, please visit your local USDA Service Center, Soil and Water Conservation District, or Extension office.

(Most photos from USDA)

Agricultural Chemical and Fertilizer Handling Facility

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Photo from http://blackland.tamu.edu

Having dry facilities that store, blend, and enclose chemicals and fertilizers on farms improves water quality. The cost-share program advises that they be a minimum of 150 feet away from water sources, and have impervious floors, pads for loading and mixing, and cover over the substances.

“Virginia Best Management Practice: Agricultural Chemical and Fertilizer Handling Facility (WP-6).” Piedmont Environmental Council. 2014. Web. 14 July 2014.

Animal Mortality Incinerator

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Photo from http://www.worldpoultry.net

Burning (poultry and livestock) carcasses in incinerators and evenly distributing the ashes on growing crops strengthen soil and water quality. Most incinerators are built for carcasses that weigh less than five hundred pounds. They run on diesel, natural gas, or propane, and must be carefully placed away from property lines, drainage ways, wells, waterways, and buildings that are highly combustible.

“Animal Mortality Facility: Incineration of Animal Mortality.” usda.gov. Mar. 2009. Web. 14 July 2014.

Henry, Chris G., and Bitney, Larry L. “Disposal Methods of Livestock and Poultry Mortality.” UNL Extension. n.d. Web. 14 July 2014.

Virginia Best Management Practice: Animal Mortality Incinerator Facility (WP-4F).” Piedmont Environmental Council. 2014. Web. 14 July 2014.

Animal Waste Control Facilities

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Managing waste on farms with livestock and poultry through dry stacking, storage, lagoons, tanks, holding ponds, collection basins, and setting basins as well as stream exclusion improves water quality.

“Animal Waste Control Facilities WP-4.” fauquiercounty.gov. n.d. Web. 14 July 2014.

“Virginia Best Management Practice: Animal Waste Control Facilities (WP-4).” Piedmont Environmental Council. 2014. Web. 14 July 2014.

Composter Facilities

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Storing (poultry and swine) carcasses, composting them, and recycling the end product improve soil and water quality. Farmers use high-carbon bulking agents such as saw dust, wood chips, straw, cornstalks, and ginning trash to cover the carcasses, and make sure that temperatures are high enough to kill harmful pathogens before distributing the composted carcasses onto their fields.

Henry, Chris G., and Bitney, Larry L. “Disposal Methods of Livestock and Poultry Mortality.” UNL Extension. n.d. Web. 14 July 2014.

“Virginia Best Management Practice: Composter Facilities (WP-4C).” Piedmont Environmental Council. 2014. Web. 14 July 2014.

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