Courts grapple with ammonia mandate


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yes, really. Where has 2017 gone?

There is one thing for sure, and that is time seems to “fly” by, but that is mere perception. We are so busy with life that we sometimes forget to slow down and live in the moment. This will be a fun Christmas season for me; I have three little bundles of joy I get to share the true meaning of Christmas with and also indulge in all the fun activities that come along with the Christmas season. I have already received a Christmas list from my oldest, and something new is added every day. I encourage you, this Christmas season, to slow down and live in the moment.

Now for an update: I have received many phone calls regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to have swine, dairy, and poultry animal operations report under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act for the continuous release of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. For many years, the EPA had exempted farms from reporting these substances, but they have recently changed that exemption. This reporting does not apply to small, backyard, or pastured animals but mainly to confined animal operations.

The original deadline to report was Nov. 15, 2017, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the EPA’s motion to stay the mandate until Jan. 22. For farms that did not report by Nov. 15, you do not have to report your initial continuous release notification until the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the court’s opinion of April 11. The court is expected to issue the mandate on Jan. 22. No reporting is necessary until the mandate is issued. For the farms that have already made the initial continuous release report, you do not have to submit a written report until the court issues the mandate. Within 30 days of the court mandate, the farmer must submit a written report to the EPA regional office. If you have additional questions, or this information is all new to you, please call your local livestock agent and we can catch you up to speed. I would also advise that you speak with your integrator to get clarification on reporting. Information can also be found at https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-reporting-requirements-air-releases-hazardous-substances-animal-waste-farms

Just a reminder: Winter weeds have already made their appearance. Some of the most common winter weeds are buttercup, common chickweed, curly dock, henbit, wild garlic or onion, white clover, wild radish, wild mustard, and common dandelion. The best time to apply herbicides to control winter weeds is October through December and February through April. Since we have almost passed the October through December time frame, it is a good idea to start thinking about herbicides to treat weeds in February through April. Some herbicides can be applied to dormant Bermuda grass, too. It is important not to let those weeds go to seed.

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Taylor Chavis is an extension livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. She can be reached at 910-671-3276 or by email at Taylor_Chavis@ncsu.edu.

Taylor Chavis is an extension livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. She can be reached at 910-671-3276 or by email at Taylor_Chavis@ncsu.edu.

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