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Illinois Manure Share program benefits all


June 7, 2013, Urbana-Champaign, IL – The University of Illinois Extension Manure Share program connects livestock owners with excess manure to gardeners, landscapers, and other large-scale composters, benefitting both the environment and economy of local communities.

Illinois Manure Share links those looking for manure with those looking to get rid of excess manure through the Illinois Extension Manure Share website.

Illinois Manure Share can provide financial relief for stables with excess manure.

“Ordinarily, stables with excess manure would have to pay for the manure to be picked up by waste management and transported to a landfill,” said Ellen Phillips, Extension educator for local food systems and small farms.

This can be expensive for individual horse owners.

“Before, it would cost a person with two horses about $400 to $500 per month to haul away manure,” Phillips explained.

With the Illinois Manure Share program, stables can save that money by connecting them with local growers and composters who can use their excess manure instead.

With the high cost of removal, many livestock owners could not afford to safely dispose of manure, becoming a potential environmental hazard if left to pile up. The Illinois Manure Share program allows livestock owners to remove manure for free, benefitting water quality by removing excess nutrients in runoff from manure piles and minimizing the use of commercial fertilizer by growers, gardeners, and other composters.

“With nitrogen prices as high as they are manure is a very valuable resource,” said Phillips.

The Illinois Manure Share program provides residents with access to organic sources of nitrogen, lowering their cost for commercial fertilizer while adding organic matter to the soil.

Although the program was first started to aid land-locked horse stables in Chicago struggling to dispose of manure, it now connects livestock owners and composters throughout Illinois. To participate in the program, residents create a profile indicating where they are, what type of manure they have or are looking for, and what kind of bedding is used. This allows participants to seek out manure or people looking for manure in close proximity to each other and facilitate an exchange.

The program is most effective when participants use the website to actively seek each other out rather than wait for someone to contact them, said Phillips.

In addition to founding the program, U of I Extension educators conduct workshops for large-scale composters that provide instruction for successful composting. All those interested in large-scale composting are encouraged to attend the workshops. For more information, click here.

For more information on the Illinois Manure Share Program click here or or contact your local Extension office.

 


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