WILLMAR, Minn. (AP) — A winter of heavy snowfall and freezing rain is giving way to warming temperatures, rapid melting and a potential for flooding.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that poses challenges for manure management among the more than 25,000 livestock farms across the state. Farmers who spread solid manure on fields over the winter must ensure that it doesn’t run off into ditches, streams and other waters.

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The agency says manure-contaminated runoff not only threatens water quality, it reduces the value of manure as a crop nutrient.

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If possible, the MPCA says, farmers should refrain from spreading manure during periods of rapid melt. Minnesota rules require a 300-foot setback from surface waters and open tile intakes for all manure spread onto frozen or snow-covered soil.

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