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EPA and USDA to study impact of winter manure spreading and runoff

Release Date: 04/06/2007
Contact Information: Phillippa Cannon, (312) 353-6218,

No. 07- OPA047

CHICAGO (April 5, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have started a new study about the impact on streams, rivers and lakes from the agricultural practice of winter manure spreading.

Some farmers prefer to spread manure on their fields in the winter to avoid the cost of storage and because frozen soil can handle the weight of manure spreading equipment. However, freeze and thaw cycles create a risk of polluted runoff when manure is applied in the winter.

"The purpose of the study is to improve the science used to make decisions about the safety of winter manure spreading," said EPA Regional Water Division Director Jo-Lynn Traub. "The agencies are trying to balance environmental protection with the needs of farmers."
"The focus of ARS scientists is to develop economical and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices that enhance soil and water quality," said Mark Weltz, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Program Leader for Hydrology and Remote Sensing.

The study is being conducted at several small experimental watersheds at a USDA research facility near Coshocton, Ohio. The study started in February and the agencies expect to publish results next year. It is a joint study by EPA Region 5, EPA Office of Research and Development and USDA Agricultural Research Service.

More information about the study is available on EPA's Web site at

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