Equine Environmental Stewardship
In Pennsylvania and other states, there is increased emphasis on farm and nutrient management practices on equine operations due to expansion of environmental regulations. Of the 31,000 operations which house horses in Pennsylvania, 23,250 are non-commercial operations and over 75 percent are on limited acreage, requiring intensive management. Horse farm operations have not been eligible for cost-share funding in the past and have not been regulated directly. Under newly revised regulations, equine operations now fall under Act 38, Pennsylvania Nutrient Management regulations. Concentrated animal operations with over 8 AUS per acre now need a nutrient management plan. However, farms with fewer than 8 Animal Equivalent Units (AEUs) will not be regulated under the Nutrient Management Act. Operations with fewer than 8 AEUs frequently have fewer acres per animal unit and have the potential to pose a significant environmental risk. Recently approved DEP manure management regulations will require all livestock owners to have a manure management plan.
The Nutrient and Sediment Project for the Chesapeake Bay Tributary.
Fourteen farm owner/managers that completed the Environmental Stewardship short course have been selected to participate in a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant project designed to help farm managers implement practices to increase the canopy cover and desirable forages in pastures, reduce nutrient and sediment loss from farms, and reduce the overfeeding of nutrients in the ration.
Working under a Chesapeake Bay grant, twenty-three equine operations were randomly selected to serve as farm cooperators.
Development of a Equine Pasture Evaluation Disk