Livestock death is an unfortunate reality that comes with the territory of farming. Inadvertent mortalities can occur as a result of predation, illness, and accidents. Although it is unpleasant to address, safe disposal of a perished livestock animal is a necessary task. The Ohio Department of Agriculture administers the regulations on allowable methods of disposal, which include: incineration, burial, rendering, or composting. Rendering plants have diminished in the local area, burial causes concerns about ground water pollution, and incineration can be quite expensive. Of all the options for disposal, composting is one of the most effective and efficient methods; especially for small scale farms that have large size livestock.
In Ohio, cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, goats, and swine may all be composed on-farm, given that the operator has secured certification through a sponsored training course. Composting is a natural biological process in which fresh organic material (in this case an animal carcass) is converted into stabilized organic residue. Although it is the same general principle, livestock mortality composting is trickier than composting kitchen scraps. Therefore, it is important that farms who chose to compost complete adequate training.
A Livestock Mortality Composting Training Course sponsored by Noble and Washington County OSU Extension will be offered from 6-8 p.m. on January 31 at the Southeast Region Extension Office. Producers who attend the course will become certified to compost the livestock previously mentioned in Ohio. The registration cost is $10 per person which will include a training manual and light refreshments. Official certificates of completion will be mailed to participants following the training. Call 740-732-5681 to register as soon as possible.