With the final release of new Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation regulations, livestock producers have a lot of work ahead. The good news– there's plenty of research data, management information and financial assistance facts available. Those topics and more will be showcased at the Livestock Manure Management Conference this March in Bloomington, Ill.

The conference, sponsored by the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural Engineering, will help producers grapple with the new CAFO regulations, as well as address an array of concerns that livestock producers face in Illinois.

"We're bringing in experts from within and outside of state," says Ted Funk, LMM conference coordinator. "For example, we have two very high-powered speakers to address the issue of good neighbor practices."

Eldon McAfee is an attorney for the Iowa Pork Producers, who has represented livestock farmers in nuisance litigation. "He should have an interesting take on what producers can do to keep themselves out of trouble," says Funk.

Also, Ellen Hankes, a former Illinois pork producer, will discuss the On-Farm Assessment and Environmental Review project. This is a free, on-site inspection offered to livestock production facilities. Hankes currently works with America's Clean Water Foundation and Environmental Management Systems.  

"McAfee and Hankes will give short presentations," Funk notes, "then we will ask them key questions so they can address a variety of issues. It should be a very interesting exchange."

Other highlights of the conference include:

* Bruce Yurdin, Illlinois Environmental Protection Agency's watershed manager, will discuss the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the new CAFO regulations.
* To show how public funding can help producers, two resource conservationists will discuss livestock-related water-quality projects in Illinois. Mike Ellis, University of Illinois, will give an overview of research being conducted under C-FAR.
* Paula Hingson, Farm Bill coordinator at the state Natural Resources Conservation Service, will explain the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. EQIP can provide significant financial assistance to producers who are willing to plan and work with agencies on conservation and manure-management practices.

As a special feature, the "Round-the-Room" session will allow attendees an opportunity to talk one-on-one with speakers. There also will be exhibit tables to showcase information and state agencies during the lunch break.

Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on beef/dairy and pork producers. For instance, Phil Westerman, a North Carolina State University professor, will speak to pork producers about manure treatment.

"The ag engineering department at North Carolina State is working with several alternative manure-treatment technologies," notes Funk.  "Phil will be able to answer producers' questions about near-term and future as manure-treatment prospects."

Gary Apgar, a Southern Illinois University professor, will speak to pork producers about managing feed to control nitrogen and phosphorus excretion.

The Livestock Manure Management Conference will be held at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Bloomington, Ill., on March 11, 2003, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Participants are asked to pre-register by March 4.  

The conference costs $35 per person. To register, call the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences marketing and distribution office at (800) 345-6087. For more information, you may e-mail Funk at funkt@uiuc.edu

University of Illinois