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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. Equine operations now fall under Act 38, Pennsylvania Nutrient Management regulations. Concentrated animal operations with over 8 AEUs per acre now need a nutrient management plan. However, farms with fewer than 8 Animal Equivalent Units (AEUs) are not 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. Under the recently revised DEP manure management regulations, all livestock operations that generate manure are required to have a manure management plan for their farm.
Managers of equine operations frequently do not have agricultural backgrounds and often need assistance in developing farm management plans. Therefore a two part educational program has been developed to help farm managers prepare their manure management plan. The program also provides practical information on best management practices that will help farm owners develop the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt environmentally sound farm management practices.
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