Monday, July 9, 2012

Manure Storage, Geneva Visit and the 4th of July!

This past week I worked mainly on a manure storage project for Lee. We have general information about manure storage systems that have been installed on farms in the past 10 years or so with the help of Agricultural Non-Point Source Grants. These are part of the Agricultural Environmental Management program of NY Soil and and Water. The goal is to prevent water pollution from agricultural activities and the Soil and Water District Managers provide technical assistance and financial incentives. The pollution occurs when there is rainfall or snow melt across the landscape and the run-off picks up pollutants and deposits them into larger water bodies. There are some interesting new systems out there to help manage the manure on farms like anaerobic digesters, composting facilities, and then general manure handling and storage systems. For now, we are trying to get information about when the systems were completed, and if the farms are doing short-term storage or long-term storage of the manure waste. I have a big excel database with information on it for all of these farms separated by county, and my job is to look for each districts soil and water contact person and call them with these questions. The goal ultimately is to see if there is enough interesting data to do a longer study and see how many manure storage systems have been funded on these dairy farms, if the farms are all still in business, or if the business has changed much in size, impacts on manure handling and equipment they use, if crop fertility and management changed, and how spreading has changed.

Wednesday was the 4th of July and we had the day off from work. It was great to get some things done around the apartment and clean and decorate my room a bit more. I hung out most of the day with Sarah, a great friend from Cornell who also just graduated and has a summer internship here in Albany. We had a lovely afternoon at a BBQ and then went to see the fireworks!

On Thursday our office took another day off of work because things have been so slow and decided to take a hike to my hometown of North Adams, MA to hike up Mt. Greylock. We only did a partial hike up the mountain, 3.5 up and 3.5 back down to where we parked our car, but there are longer hikes. Its interesting because you can hike up the mountain from a few different starting points, and from the very bottom it takes all day. The Appalachian Trail actually passes right through the peak, so there is an AT plaque and we saw a few through hikers! It was a gorgeous day.

I have also been working on organizing a legislative visit through our office to the Geneva Experiment Station. Every summer the office likes to organize a few legislative field trips so that people can learn about the work Cornell does all over the state. It has been fun learning about how mail merge works and using our database to help organize the email addresses. This has involved making an invitation with information and pictures to keep things exciting, coordinating email addresses and creating a message, and now I will be sending out the invite and collecting responses. I am also excited to attend the field trip because I have only been to Geneva once before!

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