The following questions were recently asked on the Wonderline:
Q: What was going on with the trees by the courthouse this week? Are they being chopped down or just trimmed? And if they are being chopped down, why?
A: A couple of trees were taken out of that area this week, in the courthouse lawn space, to make room for the construction that will soon take place there.
The new courthouse expansion project will house the county/city combined emergency communications center.
Q: First, why would an engineering company be hired to spread manure on the Project GROW site? Why did the NRD pay $10,000 for manure and for it to be spread on the site (couldn’t they have just gotten it from a local farmer)? Is it safe to put manure on that wellfield property because of the nitrate content? And the last question is what is the intent/purpose of the Project GROW situation? Why is the money being spent on all of that in the first place?
A: Upper Big Blue Natural Resource District staff provided the following responses to these questions.
First, why would an engineering company be hired to spread manure on the Project GROW site?
“The company contracted with the District was Settje Agri-Services and Engineering. Settje Agri-Services works with livestock producers for facility design and provides services to livestock producers. Settje Agri-Services contracts with local livestock producers to provide the service of finding a place for their animal manure. Settje Agri-Services handles the recordkeeping, material sampling and analysis, coordinates the transport, delivery, application, and payment for the manure. Once the manure leaves a livestock facility Settje Agri-Services takes full responsibility that the material will be applied to the designated fields at the designated agronomic rates based on sample analysis, which takes the burden off the livestock producer.”
Why did the NRD pay $10,000 for manure and for it to be spread on the site (couldn’t they have just gotten it from a local farmer)?
“Most livestock facilities contract with a firm such as Settje’s for the disposal of their livestock manure. It removes the burden from the livestock producer and transfers all responsibility to Settje Agri-Services. If the District would have approached a local producer they would have directed the District to Settje Agri-Services, or a similar firm, to coordinate the manure application.
Manure spreading requires special equipment that neither the District or City own. Hiring a contractor to spread the manure was just over half of the $10,000.00 payment. The remaining costs were associated to the services provided by Settje Agri-Services. The organic nutrients provided by livestock manure naturally feed the soils biological communities, creating a healthier soil.”
Is it safe to put manure on that wellfield property because of the nitrate content?
“Livestock manure nutrients breakdown over a period of years. During next year’s growing season 25% of the nitrogen from the manure will become available to the crop. With the amount of nitrogen in this manure application becoming available to the next four crop years.
“A 16-species cover crop was planted directly after the manure application. The growing cover crops will absorb the nutrients from the manure and store the nutrients until the next growing season when the next cash crop will utilize the beneficial nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. Preventing these vital nutrients from leaving the plant’s root zone. The District will soil sampling to monitor the amount of nutrients in the soil to ensure that the citizens of York water supply will not be harmed.”
What is the intent/purpose of the Project GROW situation? Why is the money being spent on all of that in the first place?
“The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District and City of York are encouraged to share in a conservation opportunity for the City of York regarding the York Wellfield. The goals are to improve soil health, increase soil carbon, erosion control, non-leaching of nitrogen into the water table, and increasing water holding capacity in the soil, while maintaining profitability and protecting York’s water quality at the wellfield.”
Q: Will there be an Ag Hall of Fame induction ceremony again this year? I remember the first one at Wessels was held last October and I enjoyed going and wondered if there would be another.
A: Yes, there will be another.
The 2018 York Area Ag Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1:30 p.m., at the new tractor display building at the Wessels Living History Farm.
This will be held in conjunction with Wessels’ “Fall on the Farm” Day, with the farm being open from 1-4 p.m.
Two people will be honored again this year.
Everyone is invited to attend the event, during which they will be able to hear the stories about those being honored and see the plaques honoring the 70 past inductees. This will also be a chance to enjoy all that Wessels has to offer.