Poultry, dairy, swine, beef cattle and other livestock producers wanting to learn economically and environmentally beneficial ways to handle the death of their 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 producers all have to deal with animal mortality at some point on their farms, whether the death is the result of illness, old age, natural disasters or birthing problems, said Dale Ricker, Ohio State University Extension swine program specialist.

While producers can choose any one of four state-approved methods for disposing of dead livestock in Ohio, composting is the most cost-effective because it can be done on-site with little effort or supplies, Ricker said.

The other legal options to handle livestock mortality include incineration, burial and rendering, he said.

“Composting livestock mortality is one of the most economical options when you consider the issue from a standpoint that it is an issue that a producer can face 365 days a year,” Ricker said. “While it is legal to incinerate livestock mortality, send the animal to a rendering facility or bury the animal, digging to the proper burial depth required by law is hard to do in winter months with frozen ground, for example.

“However, composting can be done easily right on-site.”

Certification is required by law if producers want to use composting as a method to deal with livestock and poultry mortality in animals that die of natural causes or have to be euthanized, Ricker said. Ohio requires producers attend a mortality-composting training session conducted by OSU Extension.

The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Putnam County office of OSU Extension, 1206 E. 2nd Street, in Ottawa. Registration is $10, which includes a workbook and certificate, and can be paid at the door.

Participants will learn:

  • The principles and operations of livestock-mortality composting.
  • Selecting a good site.
  • Design options.
  • Managing the compost facility.
  • Biosecurity and disease prevention.
  • Rules and regulations.
  • Troubleshooting, which includes a review of the basic principles and management of livestock mortality composting.

Participants will also receive a manual that outlines the processes, procedures, rules and regulations regarding livestock mortality composting. For more information or to register, contact Ricker at 419-523-6294 or by email at ricker.37@osu.edu.