CHARACTERIZING THE USE OF BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND MEASUREMENTS OF PASTURE AND SOIL QUALITY ON MARYLAND HORSE FARMS
Burk, Amy O.
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Agricultural operations, including horse farms, have the potential to negatively affect the environment when managed improperly. The use of best management practices (BMPs) by horse farm operators are important for reducing their farms' environmental impact. Through the use of a mailed survey and field assessment, the use of BMPs on Maryland horse farms was characterized. In general, some BMPs were being used, especially restricting horses from surface water and maintaining vegetative cover. However, BMPs such as correct manure storage and rotational grazing had low adoption rates. A major finding was that soil erosion was a serious problem for most farms and topography, use of compacted materials, and maintenance of vegetative cover can predict occurrence of soil erosion. Results from these studies can aid in the development of future educational events designed to educate horse farm operators about adopting BMPs and preventing pollution of surface water.