Dane County earmarks $1.1M to help build shared manure storage

Dane County earmarks $1.1M to help build shared manure storage

Dane County is partnering with area farms in an effort to keep lakes clean.

The county is allocating $1.1 million to help farmers apply and build community manure storage capacity.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the program Tuesday afternoon at Maier Farms in Waunakee.

Farms often spread manure on frozen or snowy ground when they run out of storage in the winter, which can lead to phosphorus in area lakes.According to a news release, UW scientists estimated that 40 percent of manure containing phosphorus runs off snow or frozen ground between January and March and ends up in the lakes.

Funds would be allocated using two methods: traditional cost-share agreements and requests for proposals. The traditional Dane County cost-share will fund a cost-share for community manure storage. The request for proposal will allow producers to submit project proposals describing innovative ideas and strategies for managing manure such as ultrafiltration or composting.

“We’re a dairy county; and cows make dairy and they make cow manure,” Parisi said. “And we’re focused a lot on this part of the county because this is what we refer to as the north Mendota watershed. This is where the watershed begins.”

Parisi said the county envisions locating the storage capacity in a centrally located place that’s convenient for the farmers who want to participate.

The county wants farmers to come up with innovative ideas and strategies for managing manure. Proposals are due to Dane County by early this summer.