By Tim Kowols
Farmers may have to work together to properly spread their manure if new proposals from the Department of Natural Resources are approved. The new rules would apply specifically to northeast Wisconsin where the karst geology and fractured bedrock has led to tainted wells across the region, specifically in Kewaunee County. According to Wisconsin State Farmer, manure spreading on fields with less than two feet of soil, frozen or snow covered ground above less than five feet of soil, and areas within 250 feet of a drinking water well would be prohibited under the proposed rules. Don Niles from the farmer-formed Peninsula Pride Farms says the proposed rules are stricter than what is already in the area and operators will have to be creative and collaborative to properly spread their manure.
Niles says the new rules are reflective of a study presented by Dr. Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture last month showing the relationship between water recharge events, soil depth to bedrock, and groundwater contamination. The DNR is currently collecting comments on the subject for review.