As everyone knows, Washington county is a large county with much of its total acreage dedicated to farming and dairy production. I like to occasionally spotlight things going on in the county that might be of interest. Today, I wanted to explain what the Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) does.
The Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is a unique unit of local government that was founded in 1945. Their mission is to assist agricultural producers, rural landowners and municipalities with the management, conservation and best use of our natural resources. In plain terminology – they protect the County’s soil and water resources while maintaining the viability of agriculture as a preferred land use.
In that regard, I subscribe to their newsletter which spotlights what they do in the county. Recently, they published an article which focused on their work at a nearby farm which I found interesting and which the SWCD gave me permission to reprint here. Red Top farm is located in Granville, NY.
Ag Non-Point Source Grant – Round 20 – Red Top Farm
By Ben Luskin, Natural Resource Technician
Last Autumn Red Top Dairy completed a bedded pack waste storage and transfer system. All of the farm’s heifers were moved into the system where manure and feed nutrients are contained and controlled. The engineered system was put into place with the help of the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) because the heifers were being fed on concrete pads with no curbing or roof structures to control clean or dirty runoff. The 340 Animal Units were allowed free access to the entire stream corridors in the pastures; polluting the watercourse, eroding stream banks, and denuding vegetation. The feeding areas in both locations were upslope from Class C(T) trout tributaries to the Mettawee River.
This Spring the heifer facilities, Diplock and Red’s House, where the livestock were previously housed were remediated. Concentrated manure from the feeding and loafing areas was scraped up and spread on farm fields that needed the nutrients. All of the headlocks and concrete infrastructure used for feeding at the Red’s House facility was removed and disposed of. The equipment crossing at Diplock’s was renovated by installing an adequate culvert, cleaning out sediment deposition at the inlet, and constructing large headwalls at the inlet and outlet. Both sites were graded and shaped to stable more attractive slopes which involved trucking in additional clean fill when on site material was not available. Farm equipment was used to prepare a good seed bed before Car-O-Vail came to broadcast the seed. The farm ensured seed to soil contact by cultipacking the acreage. Areas along the stream that were hard to access with equipment were hand seeded by the SWCD. For now, both facilities will remain vacant but the farm looks forward to working with the SWCD to develop grazing plans on each site that will supply vegetation to a suitable amount of heifers, while protecting the areas natural resources.
Click all images to see full-scale.
Administrators Note: Many thanks to the Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District for their permission to reprint their article and pictures here.