PMT data results to be delayed for weeks
SALISBURY, Md. — The October release of a Salisbury University study evaluating whether the state has the resources to manage additional manure created by the next phase of its phosphorous management plan will be delayed by several weeks, the researcher overseeing the project said this month.
Due to data concerns, the study’s delivery to the state department of agriculture, initially scheduled for Oct. 1, will likely be delayed by two to three weeks, said Memo Diriker, director of the university’s Business Economic and Community Outreach Network, which is conducting the study.
“There’s in my opinion no way we can deliver the finished product — not even the finished product, but a prototype — by Oct. 1,” Diriker told the Phosphorous Management Tool Advisory Committee at the university’s business school Sept. 6.
Diriker is building a model that will help officials evaluate whether the state has the resources to manage the additional volume of manure that will be created by the next phase of the state’s implementation of the Phosphorous Management Tool, known as the PMT, which is scheduled to begin July 1, 2020.
Diriker is examining markets for manure, participation in the state’s manure transport program, the availability of land to take additional manure and other potential uses for excess manure.
The model “gives us a decision or helps us decide whether there is enough land, whether there is sufficient funding available, what are the costs, what are the impacts — all those kinds of questions we’re asking the model,” he said. “It’s able to tell us, ‘Here’s what’s likely to happen with this level of certainty.’”
Once the advisory committee reviews the model, it may recommend to Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder that the state provide farmers with a one-year extension to implement the PMT. All farmers regulated by the program are required to be fully compliant by crop year 2022.
But Diriker said his operation is having difficulty getting data and information from stakeholders across the region who may be fearful that their personal or business information could be exposed. That would not be the case, he said.
In addition to information from the agriculture department, Diriker is seeking data from poultry companies, contract growers, manure transporters and other parties to build his model.
“In house we’re very happy with the way things are progressing,” he said. “Outside of the inputs of data, it is slow.”
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