Friday, January 09, 2009

#40 Become Certified to Compost Dead Livestock

Today I took the course to become certified to compost dead livestock in Ohio. Most of the material in the lecture was familiar to me from my own studies of composting, but it was good to have a refresher. I also got a manual that I plan to study in more depth. My official certificate will be coming by mail, but we also received unofficial ones at the class. With as few animals as we have, there aren't many mortalities, but it will be nice to be able to legally compost them on our farm.

One item down, 100 to go.


Tracy said...

I'm confused. Is it not legal to bury your own dead livestock on your own place? (which would, in time, compost them) Or is this some other process entirely? we just bury our dead.

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

Burial is legal, but not feasible for our property. Regulations call for any livestock to be buried at least four feet deep, and on most of our property you would hit groundwater before that point. Plus, what do you do if something dies while the ground is frozen? Composting is basically above-ground burial. The preferred method is to surround the carcass with at least one foot of sawdust on all sides (although other carbon sources can be used), and then mix the pile after all of the soft tissue has decomposed (there are charts for calculating how long that will take for any given animal). The mixed pile is allowed to compost for a certain number of days to break down most of the hard bones, and then it needs to be mixed again and cured for at least 30 days, after which it can be used as a soil amendment.

The class I just took certified me to compost my own livestock on my own land, and use the finished compost on my land.