Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Farm Bureau have launched the Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program online. This program is for farm owners and employees, as well as for-hire manure applicators in the state of Michigan. The goals of the program are to:
- Prevent manure application problems before they occur.
- Increase nutrient management plan implementation.
- Improve professionalism among manure applicators.
- Demonstrate responsible manure application.
- Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all employees.
The certification program is comprised of three levels. Each level includes manure application equipment inspection and ongoing education.
Farms and firms that complete Level 1 and are insured by Michigan Farm Bureau Insurance qualify for a 5% reduction on the liability and farm personal property sections of their insurance policy. Successful completion of Level 2 retains the 5% reduction, plus other incentives.
Successful completion of Level 3 increases the insurance premium reduction to 10%.
To get started, visit the Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program website. Instructions on how to set up a MSU Desire2Learn account are found on the front page of the website, as well as complete details about the certification program.
It is important to note that if you are livestock systems-verified with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, you have half of Level 2 completed (the other half is the manure application equipment inspection) and about 90% of the Environmental Management Systems Plan for Level 3 completed.
Manure Management Summit
The Manure Management Summit will be held annually for all levels of certification to attend. The summit will cover regulatory updates, scientific and research updates, and other related manure management information.
Participants will be expected to pass the knowledge check test at the end of the summit to maintain their certification.
The insurance industry is willing to offer significant premium discounts to firms and farms with a properly trained workforce and who follow through with program requirements.
As an example, the manure applicator association in Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Extension partnered with the insurance industry to create a market-based incentive program to encourage for-hire manure applicators to participate in a training and certification program.
The insurance industry prefers clients who are proactive, and it is willing to reward those who go above and beyond the basics with significant savings on their insurance premiums. Insurance industry data showed that “claimable incidences” by participating applicators dropped 80% in the first three years in the program in Wisconsin.
Over time, through a proven track record of reduced risk and safer operations, Wisconsin for-hire manure applicators have been able to increase the discounts received through their program.
Benefits of the program
The most obvious benefit is the insurance premium reduction. Perhaps more importantly, however, the certification program demonstrates how animal agriculture is working toward environmental sustainability.
The certification program creates a more positive perception of land application of manure, as well as giving an element of credibility to manure applicators. Finally, it fulfills a request from Michigan livestock producers for a list of manure applicators who they can trust to apply manure responsibly and appropriately.
Contact MSU Extension experts Charles Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-994-4547; Erica Rogers at email@example.com or 989-875-5233, ext. 5296; or Sarah Fronczak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-439-9301, ext. 315.
Question for MFB should be directed to Tess Van Gorder at email@example.com or 517-323-6711.