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Indiana Considering New Rules on Manure Storage Structures

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Indiana Considering New Rules on Manure Storage Structures

Justin Schneider
Justin Schneider

The Indiana Environmental Rules Board will hold a public hearing on Wednesday on proposed new rules for satellite manure storage structures. Indiana currently has strict rules that cover the on-farm storage of manure, but there were no regulations covering off-farm storage. Farmers approached the state and asked for an additional set of rules. “We have a good record with our on farm manure structures of not leaking and not having problems, and we wanted to insure that we have that across the board,” said Justin Schneider with the Indiana Farm Bureau public policy team.

The Hoosier Environmental Council, however, does not think the rules go far enough. It told the Indianapolis Star that the rules would allow for millions of gallons of manure to be imported into Indiana. “The rule has no teeth,” said attorney Kim Ferraro, the council’s water and agriculture policy director. The Hoosier Environmental Council says the regulations on manure storage being proposed are lax and don’t adequately address concerns about seepage or spills into drinking water.

Schneider says these claims are baseless and, actually, the rules could have just the opposite effect, “This is not going to open up the floodgates for a bunch of manure to come in from Ohio. I think it shows that Indiana is serious about regulating this.” The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, however, says the state’s regulation of such farms surpasses federal standards.

Indiana has an outstanding record when it comes to the storage and use of manure. Schneider says we have some of the toughest rules in the nation, “We are doing a lot in Indiana. The State Chemist has a certification program for fertilizer applicators; there is  rule for fertilizer application and staging; and IDEM has rules for Confined Feeding Operations, the CAFOs and the WNPD permits; and now we are going to have the regulations on satellite storage  structures.”  This puts Indiana far ahead of other states on these regulations. In addition, farm groups have several training programs designed to help farmers manage the application of nutrients and fertilizers. Schneider told HAT Indiana farmers take the use of manure and fertilizers very seriously and have been proponents of sound, science-based regulations that protect the environment and allow them to use this valuable resource.  IDEM is expected to move ahead with the adoption and implementation of the new regulations.