CANFIELD, Ohio – Livestock producers looking for an economical and environmentally beneficial way to deal with dead animals can earn livestock mortality composting certification through a course offered by experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Livestock mortality happens on all livestock and poultry farms at some point for a variety of reasons, including illness, old age, natural disasters and birthing problems, said Clif Little, an educator with the college’s outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.
In Ohio, there are four approved methods for disposing of livestock mortality: composting, incineration, burial and rendering. Composting is the most economical because it not only saves farmers money, it also protects the environment and returns animals slowly to the soil, Little said.
“Livestock mortality happens on a regular basis, so producers have to be prepared to deal with the issue anytime and on an annual basis,” he said. “Composting allows producers to recycle the animals and the leftover compost can be used to add nutrients to the soil.”
And while burial is an option, the Ohio Revised Code requires not less than four feet of soil above the animal, which can be a challenge for producers when dealing with frozen or muddy soil conditions, Little said. But certification is required by law if producers want to use composting as a method to deal with livestock and poultry mortality, he said.
“The workshop offers producers extensive training and runs through the entire process including how to do it, where it’s done, how it’s done and how to monitor the process,” Little said.
The Ohio Mortality Composting Certification Workshop will be taught in multiple locations including: