Farmers in Iowa must follow state laws when it comes to land application of manure. These laws are in place to keep manure out of waterways and protect environmentally sensitive areas.

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One of the regulations that are in place when it comes to manure application is the amount you can put on fields- something that Craig Benjegerdes failed to follow for five years.

Photo by Mirko Fabian on Unsplash
Photo by Mirko Fabian on Unsplash

During a routine inspection last November, Jeremy Klatt, a DNR environmental specialist, saw that Benjegerdes was overapplying manure to his fields. His records indicated that from 2017 to 2021, manure was applied above the manure management planner’s (MMP) allowable rate for his fields.

Benjegerdes owns a pig confinement in Worth County where he has around 2,900 animals where he uses the manure from the animals as a fertilizer for corn.

During the inspection, Klatt noted that manure was applied to fields at rates up to 32 percent higher than what the DNR had determined to be acceptable says an article in Iowa Capital Dispatch.

DNR documents also add that Benjegerdes was also applying commercial fertilizer which was not accounted for by the MMP. This resulted in the over-application of nitrogen in the crop years 2017 to 2021.

Each year, Benjegerdes must submit an annual MMP update by June 1st with a compliance fee of $174.  Documents show that Benjegerdes also failed to submit his annual update to his manure management plan for the last ten years.

As a result of the violations, the DNR ordered Benjegerdes to apply manure at the rate indicated on the MMP, sample the manure on an annual basis, and pay a $4,500 fine.

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