Every two years states are required to submit Water Quality Assessment Reports under Sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Clean Water Act describing the condition of waters in the state. These reports include water quality information on rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters, and an analysis of the extent to which waters are meeting water quality standards (https://www.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/waters-assessed-impaired-due-nutrient-related-causes). The cooperating states on this project have reported that the % of assessed rivers that have a nutrient-related impairment range from 9 – 41 %, and % of assessed lakes/reservoirs that have a nutrient-related impairment range of 8 to 91 %. While not all impairment can be attributed to agriculture, agriculture does contribute.
The overall objective of this proposal is to utilize traditional outreach strategies to improve the understanding of agri-professionals in the Pacific and Mountain Northwest in regard to nutrient cycling and recycling, fate and transport of nutrients across multiple landscapes of agriculture, and food safety related to water irrigation management. The target audience will be professionals advising agricultural producers, including regional, state and local agencies including NRCS technical service providers. An emphasis will be placed on adoption of technology and building relationships which will result in the recycling of manure nutrients via crops and forages. This will be achieved by: 1) hosting a PNW regional conference that will focus on multiple aspects of nutrient capture, nutrient cycling, adoption of innovative technologies, developing relationships amongst agricultural industries for nutrient recycling, and 2) providing online informational resources (e.g. videos and written materials) about nutrient management. All materials will be available 24/7 (or on-demand access) to educators, consultants, advisors, teaching professionals and producers. The final target audience ultimately impacted by the project will be producer/growers of vegetable, grain crops, forages, dairy and beef.
Project objectives from proposal:
The key difference of this project and a previously funded SARE project (EW00-011 – year 2000) is the integrated approach that will be utilized to create an awareness of opportunities for nutrient recycling across the landscape of livestock, forage, and crops. In addition, we will include a food safety component related to irrigation.
The primary objective is to utilize traditional outreach methods to improve the understanding of agri-professionals in the Pacific and Mountain Northwest in regard to nutrient cycling and recycling, fate and transport of nutrients across multiple landscapes of agriculture, and food safety related to water irrigation management.
Year 1: Identify ten (2 from each state) innovative projects that will be invited to present at the regional conference to promote adoption of practices that encourage resource stewardship. Possible topics include: technologies for capture and recycling of manure phosphorus and solids; carbon sequestering and storage, predicting nitrogen mineralization in organic farming systems; safe use of compost/manure for vegetable crops, role of tannins and carbohydrates on rate of gain, economics, and nutrient cycling in grazing systems; and irrigation management and food safety.
Year 2: Host a regional conference (Boise, ID) focused on nutrient cycling and recycling, fate and transport of nutrients, and food safety across multiple landscapes of agriculture.
Year 2: The conference audience will be surveyed to determine if they’re more or less likely to promote the knowledge and practices presented at the conference.
The conference will include a tour component to demonstrate innovative techniques, technologies, or management approaches. Specific areas for education tracks include: compost utilization, soil health, current state of phosphorus management with the P-Index tool, use of manure and raspberries and vegetable crops, effect of manure stockpiling on nutrient leaching, multi-year compost rate and crop rotation with dairy manure, and fate and transport of nutrients and pathogens.