Michigan State University will host a Manure Management Virtual Field Day at 10 a.m., July 21, starting with MSU Extension Educators Erica Rogers and Sarah Fronczak, presenting from Swiss Lane Farms in Alto, Michigan.
Despite not being held in-person, the organizers have developed an interactive and responsive program that will include video, conversation and a Q&A.
“This isn’t your typical webinar,” said Rogers, an environmental management educator in Gratiot County. “This will be as in-person feeling as possible. We are actually going to tour a farm, virtually.”
Michigan Farm Bureau’s Manager of Ag Ecology, Laura Campbell, says good manure management is a crucial part of water quality protection, whether your farm is big or small, and whether you’re handling your own livestock or receiving manure from another farmer.
“Learning smart solutions for storage, transport, and land application can help your business and relationships in your community,” Campbell said. “Also, using good practices protects you from spills, accidents, or runoff incidents that can add up to big regulatory penalties.
“Best of all, this virtual program will feature the newest tool available for farmers and haulers in Michigan: the voluntary Manure Haulers Certification Program, which can help you maximize your responsible management by offering online training courses and onsite equipment inspection for your farm or business,” Campbell added.
Manure management policy, research and technology are constantly changing and requires frequent updating.
“Manure management doesn’t go away,” Fronczak said about the importance of the event. “There is always something new to learn, and you have to be vigilant and continue education — laws change and technology changes.”
Rogers and Fronczak, an environmental management educator in Hillsdale County, will lead the tour via a Google Maps view of the farm, while showing a variety of previously-recorded manure management lessons from MSU Extension educators, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program technician, Bill Lindberg, and local professionals.
Features of the day will include:
• Meet the Farmer and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, featuring Annie Link of Swiss Lane Farms and Bill Lindberg of MAEAP.
• Manure Technology: Sand and Solid Separation, featuring Swiss Lane Farms speakers, MSU Extension, and MAEAP.
• Taking the Mystery out of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans, featuring James DeYoung of CJD Farm Consulting and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
• Dragline Manure Application and The Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program, featuring Rogers.
• Live question-and-answer session with speakers.
The program is designed for a variety of audiences, Rogers said. “Anybody that applies manure will benefit from this program — small farms, large farms and even field crop producers who use manure,” she said.
MSU is hosting the event in partnership with the Kent Conservation District. Register for the online event here. A Zoom link will be provided at the registration website.