WSDA spends fine money on manure projects

A cow eyeballs a visitor to a Washington dairy. The state Department of Agriculture has distributed nearly $36,000 to fund eight manure-related projects.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has distributed nearly $36,000 for eight manure-related projects. The money came from fines the department has levied against dairies since 2015.

The department enforces the state’s Dairy Nutrient Management Act. The department announced the grants Nov. 2. The recipients are:

• Skagit Conservation District, $5,000, to collect water samples and identify conditions that cause fecal coliform bacteria to grow. The conservation district will work with Skagit Valley College.

• South Yakima Conservation District, $5,000, for a workshop for Yakima dairies on keeping records, interpreting soil tests, irrigating and composting.

• Underwood Conservation District, $5,000, to identify sources of bacteria in the Trout Lake basin. Water will be sampled in the spring, summer and fall, and analyzed for fecal coliform. The conservation district will contribute $6,000 to the project.

• Snohomish Conservation District, $5,000, to help dairies keep records and adopt best-management practices.

• Washington State University, $4,999, to develop a calendar for when to apply manure. The agriculture department will distribute 500 copies to dairy farmers and conservation districts.

• Whatcom Conservation District, $4,934, for a media campaign on the value of manure and the laws that govern its use. The campaign will be waged on radio, print and social media. The conservation district will contribute another $3,273.

• Organix Inc, $4,000, for a field day at Liberty Dairy in Granger on using worms to treat liquid manure. The field day is tentatively scheduled for May. The organizers will contribute $2,000.

• Whatcom Conservation District, $1,999, to put 10 two-sided signs in fields to educate farmers and community members about how cover crops improve water quality. The conservation district will provide another $1,778.

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