You may or may not be aware that horse operations must comply with the same regulations for soil erosion, sedimentation control, and manure management that all other agricultural operations need to comply with.
Do you know where to go for technical assistance?
Your local County Conservation District or USDA NRCS office can help explain the requirements to you. They may be able to assist with further technical assistance and possibly some financial assistance as well.
Equine owners can write their own Manure Management Plan. More details can be found here.
Any equine operations which are planting their own hay or other crops need a written conservation plan, sometimes referred to as an agricultural E&S plan. Even if you are not growing hay or other crops, any equine operation which has an Animal Heavy Use Area (AHUA) also needs to have an agricultural E&S plan written. Until recently, equine owners and other farmers were not able to write their own required agricultural erosion and sedimentation control plans (E&S plans). Now, Shelly and Beth encourage you to check out www.paonestop.org to help write your own plan and create your own maps.
If you have horses, and pasture, but do not have crop fields, you still need a written plan to cover the pasture. Contact your County Conservation District or local USDA NRCS office for more details. Essentially, there are two options for pasture:
- Maintain “dense vegetation throughout the growing season” which minimizes bare spots and maintains average vegetation height of at least 3 inches.
- Develop a Prescribed Grazing Plan, as outlined in NRCS PA Technical Guide Practice Standards
An agricultural E&S plan includes:
- identification of farm and fields
- conservation Best Management Practices (BMPs) needed on cropland, hayland and/or pastures needed to limit soil loss from erosion to an acceptable level (called “T”)
- additional BMPs needed to minimize accelerated soil and manure loss from animal heavy use areas such as barnyards and exercise lots
- maps showing
- streams, lakes, rivers
- fields and property boundaries
- animal heavy use areas
- existing and planned BMPs
- an implementation schedule describing when the planned BMPs will be implemented
- operation and maintenance criteria describing how BMPs will be operated and maintained
According to the PAOneStop website, “The first module of PAOneStop is a Nutrient Management Mapping Module. This module provides a tool to extract data and generate high quality maps that are required for completion of Nutrient Balance Sheets and Nutrient Management Plans.” Nutrient Management Plans are different than a Manure Management Plan. Not all equine operations require a Nutrient Management Plan but all equine operations must have a written Manure Management Plan. Nutrient Balance Sheets may be required if you are exporting your equine manure to other farm operations.
As written on the PAOneStop website, “The second module within PAOneStop, and currently under development, will provide tools to assist farmers in developing Conservation Plans (erosion and sedimentation, E&S) to meet regulatory requirements, reduce soil loss, and protect the water quality.”