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The Daily



07-11-03: Emergency funds available to farmers
Aid is for manure storage facilities

The Daily Standard
    Mercer County farmers are in line for Agricultural Pollution Abatement cost-sharing emergency funds to construct supplemental livestock manure storage facilities.
    A week of heavy rains and flooding has stressed many livestock manure storage facilities causing some to exceed their designed capacity.
    A total of $30,000 in state funds is being made available to livestock farmers in Mercer, Auglaize, Darke, Logan, and Van Wert counties from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Conservation. These are the counties for which Gov. Bob Taft declared a state of emergency as a result of flooding and storm damage.
    The funding will provide up to $1,500 per farm for emergency livestock waste facility construction, which Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation district technician Jerry Linn said should "pretty well cover" what needs to be done.
    "Remember this is a temporary, emergency facility  (excavated in a ground area) to pump off the rainwater and not a permanent facility which might cost as much as $60,000," Linn told The Daily Standard this morning.
    Situations that qualify for the emergency funding are those where existing manure storage is within one foot of the top of the structure.
    "These emergency structures can be used only 45 days and must be backfilled within 30 days after use is discontinued," Linn said, adding that his office has construction guidelines available.
    Payment will be made only after the backfilling is completed.
    In addition, up to $1,000 is available for emergency hauling and disposition of liquid manure to a treatment facility or to a manure storage structure with adequate storage capacity. Again qualification terms are that the existing liquid manure is within one foot of the top of the structure.
    "Producers who have questions on what to do or what emergency help they can get should call our office," he said.
    Linn can be reached at 419-586-2548.
    Of the 100 manure storage lagoons in Mercer County, Linn said so far only six have been of concern and three of those are already out of danger.
    Although Linn could not say ODNR will waive pollution violation citations in view of the unusual flooding, he did say based on his conversation with an ODNR official, they (ODNR) would "work with" farmers who demonstrate they are addressing manure storage problems responsibly.
    "Of course, we cannot discharge into state waters or ditches, but wešll work with farmers any way we can," Linn said.


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The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822