Lyn Rosgaard is a planner - you have to be when your career involved 30 years in the emergency management field. On her five-acre Lakewood-area horse farm, Lyn has been gradually planning the addition of structures and practices to help her manage the facility well - and you can tell her hard work has paid off. It’s a bucolic little farm with green pastures, scenic buildings, a pond and seven healthy, thriving horses.
Lyn lives on the property with her mother and husband. She owns four horses, including one for her granddaughter, and boards three more. She also rents an additional pasture from a neighbor to supplement her own. For many years, Lyn has worked with Snohomish Conservation District farm planners and has hosted two farm tours to help other horse owners learn about preventing mud and manure problems.
Recently, Lyn took advantage of the cost-share program offered through the Stillaguamish River Clean Water District to add two sets of compost bins to her farm. She had one small bin and had been making use of an area of pasture to hold excess manure from seven horses. It was covered, but far from the barns and difficult to drive up to in winter due to wet ground.
Lyn worked through the application process and invited Conservation District Engineer Kelly Cahill out to help begin the design process. Cahill helped Lyn with site location, and the size of the bins needed for the amount of manure produced by seven full-grown horses. Lyn chose to divide her cost share dollars, and put in two three-bin systems. One is near the large indoor arena and barn, the other along her driveway.
Both bins have a 5/8” minus compacted gravel base, typically 6 – 8” thick, using gravel that is a Washington DOT specification. Down the middle of each bin is an ‘I’ beam which prevents a tractor loader from scraping up gravel when the bin is being emptied. Landowners can also choose a concrete base, with or without curbs. A roof can be added as well. In Lyn’s case, she’ll likely use tarps to keep rain off the piles and prevent any runoff.
Lyn is pleased with the new additions to her farm operation. Receiving financial assistance from the Stillaguamish River Clean Water District, and technical assistance from the Conservation District helped push her decision to finally replace an old, undersized bin. It also helps knowing that all the manure from her farm will be contained and composted, and won’t be contributing to pollution or sediment in the river. These can harm aquatic life and salmon, as well as shellfish living in Port Susan.
The Rosgaard farm will be highlighted in a morning tour on October 10th as part of Snohomish Conservation District’s fall workshop series. The farm tour will highlight efforts that landowners can make to prevent mud and manure issues over the winter, and make chore time easier. Watch for details of the tour and a registration link