Our Spring May 14 meeting at impressive Wyndham Oaks Farm was lucky to fall between what seems like our continual rain showers. We met in the club room overlooking the big indoor where the dressage horses were going through their paces. John Blackburn, the renowned stable architect and author of Healthy Stables by Design, spoke about the site planning and design he did for Wyndham Oaks. He noted that the placement of the barns to the prevailing winds is a key element in creating the updraft for quality stable ventilation. The roof pitch and vents create a lift effect that, combined with the heat on the sky lights, keeps air moving up and out of the barn to minimize stale air and transfer of dust and pathogens among the horses. John pointed out these features as we toured the barn.
Gerald Talbert, project manager for the Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP), explained how Wyndham Oaks was certified with a nutrient management plan and a conservation plan as well as an original farm design to minimize erosion and handle the manure from 60 horses in an environmentally-sound manner. He reported that new horse farms are being added to the 25+ already FSCAP certified list.
Farm owner, Lori Larson, joined our tour of the farm and pointed out water management features as well as the composting and spreading of the horse manure on pastures and hay fields.
Good news is that Montgomery County soil conservation equine specialist, Shelly Ingram, agreed to serve as the MHC Farm Stewardship vice chair and John Blackburn and Gerald Talbert agreed to serve on the committee. Also, Carolyn Krome offered to host the Summer meeting at her lovely Persimmon Tree Farm.
New ideas explored by the group were increasing meeting participation through social media, inviting real estate people who are often the first point of contact for new horse farm owners, building alliances with other groups such as the Farm Bureau and local government entities.
Look forward to seeing you this Summer at Persimmon Tree Farm!
Significant fines can be levied on farms who fail to comply with Maryland's Nutrient Management regulations. Click here for more info from the University of Maryland Ag Law blog about whether and when you can be fined for failing to have a Nutrient Management Plan, or for violating its terms.