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What to do when your animals are no longer ‘live’ stock

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Extension Service News by Kim Strohmeier

Dealing with dead animals is a reality for any livestock owner.  There have been laws on the books for years as far as how to dispose of them, but for the most part, they’ve been somewhat impractical and very expensive for the small farmer who had an animal die on their farm.
Because of this, many farmers have been dragging dead animals to an out-of-the-way place on the farm and letting the buzzards and coyotes dispose of the carcass.
As a rural county, we’ve gotten away with that. However, as an urban population that has less sympathy for these kind of farmer concerns continues to move closer to the county, it is becoming more important to get rid of these dead animals in a more environmentally-friendly way.
Fortunately, there is a natural, low-cost way of disposing of dead animals that is environmentally acceptable. This method is called composting.
Composting dead farm animals safely breaks down the carcass while keeping pollutants out of the ground water. It’s an odorless process that won’t attract scavengers and also provides an end-product that farmers could use as a soil amendment. It also has the benefit of helping to control the spread pathogens and disease outbreaks that could be associated with carcasses decomposing in the open.
This system works so well that an animal that is composted will essentially disappear within 5-6 weeks. The resulting compost can be spread on fields or used to compost future downed stock.
A meeting has been scheduled to discuss how to do this. A discussion of “Composting Dead Animals” will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 28, at the Owen County Extension Office. A barbeque meal will be provided to all those attending.
The barbeque is being sponsored by the local conservation board, Farm Bureau, and the Phase I board.
All interested farmers are invited to attend.  Since this is a sponsored meal, please call the extension office at 484-5703 by April 27 for reservations.