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East-Central Indiana Manure Dumping Exaggerated

East-Central Indiana Manure Dumping Exaggerated
Consultant questions motives behind controversy.

umors of Ohio livestock producers hauling manure into Indiana and 'dumping' it led to a sensational-type report aired on an Indianapolis TV station, WTHR, Channel 13, last week. The rumors say livestock producers in the heavy-livestock laden counties of west-central Ohio will soon face tougher regulations, so they're bringing manure to Indiana to get rid of it instead of face the regulations.

Tom Menke, of Menke Consulting, Inc., Greenville, Ohio, says that may be what some people think is happening, but it's not reality as he sees it. First, manure has moved from Ohio into Indiana for at least the past 34 years he's been advising livestock producers. Much of it is spread on land owned or rented by Ohio farmers. The rest is spread on land owned or rented by Indiana farmers who are buying the manure, typically poultry litter, because it's a cheaper source of fertilizer than commercial fertilizers.

In fact, Menke argues that the value of manure itself will keep it from being wasted. Farmers know how valuable it is. Poultry manure tends to be economical to haul within a 100-mile radius of where it's produced. That means a large percentage of it is hauled into Ohio counties surrounding high-livestock producing areas as well.

The term dumping is also inaccurate, he notes. Ohio law allows for stockpiling of manure. Government officials have long recognized there that manure can't always be land-applied when it needs to be removed from the facility. So they instituted requirements for stockpiling. As far as we know, Indiana does not have the same stockpiling rules for people who buy manure but who don't raise livestock.

However, that could change. Bob Kraft, Indiana Farm Bureau, says the legislature may address the issue of the person who stores and uses manure, but who currently isn't under the same regulations as his adjoining neighbor who has a livestock confinement operation and produces the manure. He expects it's possible a bill may be proposed that would require those storing and applying manure to meet the same requirements as those who have CAFO units.

Look for more details on this issue in the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. 

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