Commercial manure applicators from several Midwestern states are joining forces with extension specialists to develop a voluntary training program that will help assure environmentally safe and neighbor-friendly manure handling throughout the region.

Training at a field day in August included manure-spill response, equipment safety, potential health and injury concerns, rules of the road, using GPS equipment to prove where manure was spread and how much was spread, identifying saturated soil and taking quick in-the-field manure tests. The field day was part of a larger, ongoing program that provides voluntary training and certification to commercial manure haulers and applicators. Past field days have covered land-application practices, odor management, calibrating equipment and a staged manure spill with a demonstration of response actions that minimize the impact of a spill.

The program offers three levels of certification, with each level providing progressive training in manure application and management. Haulers who complete the program could be eligible for reductions in liability-insurance premiums.

For more specific infor-mation about this voluntary program, contact Randy Fonner at 217-333-2611 or