When the North Williston Cattle Co. plans to spread manure, it alerts neighbors ahead of time with a "spreadsheet." It's a small gesture that works really well, says Onan Whitcomb, owner of a facility near Essex Junction, Vt. The area is populated by farmers and non-farmers alike-people Mr. Whitcomb would like to have on his side if the farm ever applies for an expansion permit. In late November, as the farm prepared for its final spread of the year, the Whitcombs include a small gift with each flier distributed to neighboring homes.