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McCarty Family Farms

Summary of Client

McCarty Family Farms, located in northwest Kansas, is owned and operated by fourth-generation dairy farmers Mike, Clay, Dave and Ken McCarty. More than 100 years ago, the McCarty family started and ended every day milking cows by hand in a small barn without electricity in northeast Pennsylvania. With a desire to continually improve, the family has grown their operation to include five dairy farms, a milk condensing plant, and grain storage facility.

At a Glance

  • McCarty Family Farms, like other large farming operations, is required to meet regulations.
  • Eocene Environmental Group was retained and continues to assist and provide expertise in environmental regulatory compliance.
  • Eocene’s sustainability team provides McCarty Family Farms with several environmental compliance management services focused on sustainability, regulatory compliance, environmental processes and permitting, with nutrient management plans (NMP) being a primary concentration.

The Situation

McCarty Family Farms has been a progressive leader in environmental stewardship and animal welfare since their inception. As a B Corp Certified company, they were also the first dairy in the nation to receive all four Validus certifications for excellence in each of the categories of animal welfare, environmentalism, on-farm security and worker care.

Having a large farming operation like McCarty Family Farms, they meet the regulatory definition of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), which is regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program that regulates pollutants from point sources to waters within the United States. Eocene’s agricultural engineering and environmental services team maintain up-to-date knowledge of all environmental rules and regulations to keep clients in compliance on a state and national level. McCarty Family Farms retained Eocene because of their need for assistance and expertise in the regulatory compliance aspect of their business, specifically with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Our Solution

Eocene’s agricultural engineering team provides McCarty Family Farms with several environmental compliance management services. Eocene’s team focuses on sustainability, regulatory compliance, environmental processes and permitting. Services include writing NMPs, performing quarterly facility assessments and whole pond seepage tests, and writing regular operational reports and emergency response plans.

NMPs are a service that Eocene began providing McCarty Family Farms from the onset of their partnership. The NMP’s purpose is to prove that the facility has the available land to agronomically apply all generated manure. Its focus is soil and water health by preventing over application and nutrient loss. In addition to adding organic matter back to the soil, cow manure also improves its water holding capabilities and reduces the overall need for synthetic fertilizers. To ensure we are managing these nutrients properly, we follow strict standards set and monitored by the EPA among other local and state organizations.

When developing McCarty Family Farms’ NMPs, Eocene creates a plan to assist them in utilizing nutrients from solid and liquid manure. By implementing a NMP, McCarty Family Farms is able to apply the manure at agronomic rates for crop production and surface/groundwater resource protection. The additional benefit to them as the farmer is seen in cost savings by not having to purchase commercial fertilizer to grow crops.

Beyond the conservation engineering and environmental compliance services our sustainability division provides, Eocene also helps McCarty Family Farms measure the effectiveness of their sustainability efforts and identify potential areas of improvement. Producing safe, high-quality milk in a socially and environmentally responsible way is important to McCarty Family Farms. Eocene helps verify McCarty Family Farms’ farming and business practices including their environmental impact. Eocene helps them validate their work and identify ways they can continue to improve.

Having the help of [Eocene] is like having an extra set of eyes on our business and our image. It’s a way to identify and correct issues before they become problems, which is crucial. [Eocene] is always helping us be good stewards with our resources, and we’re constantly having conversations about how we can be more sustainable and make better decisions.” -Ken McCarty

Learn More About the Eocene Environmental Group Team/

Eocene has an experienced and passionate team of biologists, archaeologists, environmental planners, foresters, arborists, agronomists, animal scientists, sustainability risk specialists, software developers and engineers. Check out the “Our People” page to learn more about our team.

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