Now in its 21st year, the Iowa manure applicator certification program continues to train and certify the state’s manure applicators on the best ways of handling, hauling and applying livestock manure.
Three certification programs were offered this year, in partnership with ISU Extension and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources:
Confinement site applicators. Nearly 1,300 attended the Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification trainings, required for producers who have more than 500 animals in confinement. Currently, there are more than 1,960 certified confinement applicators in Iowa.
Commercial applicators. Some 2,218 attended the Commercial Manure Applicator Certification workshops. There are currently 605 certified commercial manure applicator businesses in Iowa, compared to 562 last year.
Dry manure applicators. The Dry Manure Application Certification workshops drew 120 applicators during five events held in February.
The certifications are part of the requirements of Iowa legislation passed in 1998, intended to educate, train and certify the state’s manure applicators about the best ways to handle, haul and apply livestock manure.
Improving manure management
Dan Andersen, ISU Extension ag engineering specialist in manure management, says the program continues to evolve, with new training opportunities and a focus on practical, hands-on lessons that benefit farmers and protect resources. “The manure applicator certification program offers a lot of value to our state,” he says. “I think we’re doing a good job of managing manure as a resource, but there’s always room for improvement.”
In recent years, Andersen and the other ISU staff involved have tried to make the training more farmer-inclusive, in ways that include their own experiences and concerns, and provide more “peer-to-peer learning opportunities.”
Cost for commercial applicator certification is $200; cost for confinement site applicator certification is $100.
Andersen says while some applicators may see the certification as a burden, most understand it helps to keep them current and in compliance with the latest practices. “Most applicators do see the value in the training program and certification,” he says. “I think they understand that we have to do things right.”
Nutrient management information
Next year’s in-person training will be in January and February, with video and online opportunities year-round. More information about the program and nutrient management is available on ISU Extension’s Iowa Manure Management Action Group website.
Additional partners in the training program include ISU College of Ag & Life Sciences, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa Commercial Nutrient Applicators Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Environmental Council, and Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship.