closeup of worms on compost

Managing waste

In *All, Agricultural Systems, Earth Day, Environmental Stewardship by AgIsAmerica

Agricultural wastes, like manure, animal carcasses and wastewater, can pose environmental and human health risks if not handled safely. Some wastes can be reused as fertilizers, but if not properly managed, excess nitrogen, phosphorous, and pathogens can run off or leach into ground and surface waters. Land-grant universities are finding ways to safely dispose of or reuse agricultural wastes.

Here are a few examples of that work:

  • To mitigate the risk of manure spills and related impacts on water quality, Wisconsin Extension developed and hosted trainings for manure applicators and farmers. In addition, research led to the development of a new valve system for transport vehicles that has been adopted by the industry to reduce spills. 
  • Burial pits are traditionally used to dispose of poultry carcasses, but residue from pits can linger for years and pathogens and other pollutants can enter groundwater. In Georgia, Extension experts partnered with local USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service staff to teach 87 poultry producers about composting to manage poultry carcasses. As part of the program, producers developed plans for carcass composting and applying the compost to soil in an environmentally responsible manner. Participating producers could also apply for cost-sharing grants to implement their plans.

Source: National Impacts Database

Read the full impact statement.

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