Adam Cornell of Performance Farms LLC in Remus, Mich., hauls up to 2 million gallons of manure each year. He knows its value. He also knows how important it is to prevent spills, which is why he is participating in Michigan’s Manure Hauler Certification Program, established by the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies and Michigan State University.
The online program focuses on preventing manure application problems before they occur through increased nutrient management and responsible manure application.
Cornell says he learned about planning routes to only include right-hand turns, as well as best practices for safety — including using reflective tape on slow-moving vehicle signs and using LED lights for increased visibility.
“There are so many new regulations coming out with the state, it makes way more sense to self-regulate with programs like this and stay ahead of the curve,” Cornell says.
The certification program aims to:
- Prevent manure application problems before they occur.
- Increase nutrient management plan implementation.
- Demonstrate responsible manure application.
- Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all employees.
- Improve professionalism among manure applicators.
M. Charles Gould, MSU Extension bioenergy educator, says manure haulers become the face of agriculture when they haul manure down the road, whether they like it or not.
“Public relations are as important as making sure manure nutrients are applied correctly,” he says. “Doing both is not easy, and requires training to do correctly if farms want to continue to land-apply manure.”
There are three levels to the program. Each comes with new skills, relevant information and an on-site inspection from experts who can help talk through any questions a hauler may have.
Certification comes with the peace of mind of knowing you’re doing everything you can to help haul safely, as well as discounts of up to 10% for liability and farm personal property insurance from Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan.
Farmers verified in Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program for livestock systems are already halfway through completing Level-2 certification and have about 90% of the Environmental Management Systems Plan for Level 3 completed.
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.