The Planning and Special Projects Committee focuses on problem areas in the waterway where runoff is causing erosion and adding silt to the waterway.
May 26, 2019 – Phosphorous is the largest contributor to river and lake pollution issues. Phosphorous is a natural non-metallic element found in soil and white phosphorus is primarily used in fertilizers, critical to crop production.
Many who may not be knowledgeable about the farming industry today are quick to blame farmers for all the pollution issues in our lake, rivers and streams. While it may be a contributor in part, it is not on the whole. Progressive farmers today are involved in managing fertilizer use through crop rotation and land management programs. Soil conditions and content are regularly checked for percentages of elements including phosphorous so that one, the correct mix is on the fields and two, that the correct amounts are being used. Farmers try to use as little fertilizers as possible on their fields because of costs and maximizing yields. The ideal average amount of phosphorus per acre is about 50 parts per million.
Frost Farms owned and operated by Spencer and Stewart Frost, is located on Bridge Drive. It is a major milk producer in our area with the majority of their crops grown to feed their milk herd. Their big crop is corn for silage and they use liquid manure as a key source of fertilizer. Yes it smells, but it is natural phosphorus. Again, applications are monitored so the correct amounts are applied vs. what many think is just “a dump as much as they can on the fields” program.
We approached Spencer and Stewart as part of our ongoing management efforts to address a potential source of phosphorous from the field on the south side of N. Tichigan Rd. and how we could work together with them to minimize the effects of runoff from the field that eventually finds its way into our waterway. By the way, that field is testing out at about 25 parts per million, well below what it should be.
Both Spencer and Stewart believe in being not only excellent dairy farmers, but also good stewards of the land and welcomed neighbors. As a result of our discussions and as part of their planned land management program, the field in question will be put into alfalfa for the next 3-5 years. This offers a natural filtration as a cover crop and alfalfa naturally absorbs phosphorous out of the soil. When the Frosts determine it is time to rotate their field into another crop, they will be leaving a 60 ft. wide filter strip along N. Tichigan Rd. to continue abating runoff.
This is a win/win for both the Frosts and our waterway. So, we thank Frost Farms for stepping forward and working with us.