CSIF Tips of the Month: March 2016

03-01-2016 in Through The Gate

Think Spring, Think Trees

The month of February brought a spike in calls to the Coalition from farmers with questions about tree plantings.

Trees, when planted in the right places, can be very beneficial on livestock farms. They can reduce odor by 10-15 percent, while also providing visual screening, improving neighbor relations, controlling wind and snow, and more.

The Green Farmstead Partner program, spearheaded by CSIF, features a network of landscapers across Iowa. This winter, the Coalition hosted a workshop for participating landscapers to provide them with program updates they can implement on livestock farms when designing and installing windbreaks. The information presented was very well received and has practical applications for anyone looking to establish a windbreak on their farm.

On the Green Farmstead Partner program blog, you’ll find information on the features of a good windbreak, cost-share programs available to help cover the costs associated with planting trees, and hot topics (which includes aronia berries, pollinator habitat and other innovative agroforestry ideas).


Rules & Regs Highlight: Master Matrix Adopted in 88 Counties

Once again, 88 of 99 Iowa counties notified DNR that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix.

Animal producers in these counties must meet higher standards than other confinement producers who also need a construction permit. They must earn points on the master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce impacts on air, water and the community.

With 11 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. The following counties will not use the matrix in 2016: Decatur, Des Moines, Fremont, Keokuk, Lee, Mahaska, Osceola, Plymouth, Wapello, Warren and Washington.

Participating counties score each master matrix submitted in their county and can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

Only producers who must get a construction permit for a confinement are affected by the master matrix. Generally, these include proposed construction, expansion or modification of confinement feeding operations with more than 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.


Windbreak Design Tip: Native Grasses

There are many options to consider as you design a windbreak. First, consider your goals for a new tree planting. Native grasses can be a good option for certain situations and different areas on livestock farms.

If native grasses are something that interest you, check out the new Green Farmstead Partner program blog post! It focuses specifically on prairie plants and provides ideas of species.


Farmgate Quotables

“We went with the Coalition to understand the rules and regulations… They were great for helping us choose a site and checking distances from other neighbors. They were just wonderful to work with.” – Randy Cook, Dubuque County, cattle & dairy farmer

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