LANSING — It takes know-how, experience, and training to help prevent manure spills, and a new program from the Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies and Michigan State University Extension is helping haulers learn the best ways to keep themselves, and their manure, safe.
The Michigan Manure Hauler Certification Program is a voluntary training program which helps to prevent manure application problems before they occur through increased nutrient management plan implementation and responsible manure application.
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.
“This program is a great partnership among MSU Extension, Michigan Farm Bureau, and Farm Bureau Insurance, who all share the goal of reducing risk for people who are transporting and applying manure,” said Michigan Farm Bureau Agricultural Ecology Dept. Associate Policy and Regulatory Specialist Tess Van Gorder.
Adam Cornell of Performance Farms LLC in Remus hauls up to 2 million gallons manure each year. He took part in the program to help better understand the intricacies of spill prevention and be ahead of the curve when it comes to the rules of the road.
“There are so many new regulations coming out with the state it makes way more sense to self-regulate ourselves with programs like this and stay ahead of the curve so the state doesn’t have to step in and dictate what the rules are,” Cornell said.
Cornell says he learned about pre-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.
According to M. Charles Gould, MSU Extension bioenergy educator, 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 said. “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.
If you are currently livestock systems verified with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, you already halfway through completing Level-2 certification and have approximately 90% of the Environmental Management Systems Plan for Level 3 completed.
To get started, go to 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.
— Michigan Farm Bureau
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