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Knee-Deep in...Regulations

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 12/17/2010 More stories >>

The new guidelines acknowledge the need to balance environmental stewardship and livestock operations in an island setting.

The new guidelines acknowledge the need to balance environmental stewardship and livestock operations in an island setting.

Livestock waste management can be a sticky mess. The livestock industry’s ability to keep current and compliant with new guidelines grows increasingly difficult and costly.

Recognizing the importance of the livestock industry’s viability in Hawai‘i’s economy, CTAHR’s C.N. Lee and Glen Fukumoto, along with the State Department of Health, assembled a consortium of public-sector agencies and commercial livestock operators to develop a comprehensive livestock waste-management plan, the first in 13 years. The plan’s objectives were to provide methods of addressing compliance issues in the most practical, efficient, and costeffective manner and to make the information readily available to all interested individuals.

The new guidelines acknowledge the need to balance environmental stewardship and livestock operations in an island setting. Best-management practices were developed to help reduce polluted runoff from farms into drinking wells and State waters. The plan also implements agronomic practices and monitoring to minimize the odors and insect problems that can arise from livestock operations. The guidelines commend new innovations by CTAHR such as the portable dry-litter pig pen, which allows less waste to be discharged, and emphasize the importance of practices that “appropriately reuse the waste stream, such as composting.” They also explain how farmers can get financing to implement new waste-management plans.

The consortium consists of CTAHR, the State Department of Health (Clean Water Branch, Wastewater Branch, and Solid Waste Branch), USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, EPA-Region 9, and commercial livestock operators (poultry, swine, beef, and dairy producers). The West Maui Soil and Water Conservation District Office provided administrative support to the group. The effort resulted in a network of new partnerships and a greater sense of community amongst the various groups.

You can view the plan, “Guidelines for Livestock Waste Management” here:
http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/water/wastewater/forms.html