Whether a farmer has one cow or 1000, manure problems are the likeliest route to trouble with the neighbors.
Everybody poops; animals just happen to do it more than the rest of us. A lactating dairy cow can produce 150 pounds of manure every day. Twenty broiler chickens will produce over four pounds a day. Whether a farmer has one cow or 1,000, manure problems are the likeliest route to trouble with the neighbors.
So how do you solve a problem like manure? From non-farmers – with a horse to the largest industrial hen houses – people are coming up with ingenious ways to take the damage out of dung by sharing a necessary garden resource with folks looking for this very solution.
These mostly localized manure shares pair animal owners with gardeners, farmers and landscapers in need. Using mailing lists or sign-up sheets, most farmers looking to unload their manure give their location, fee (if any), whether they deliver, if the waste is raw or composted and the kind of animal the manure is from.
Manure Shares are grassroots programs often run by agricultural extension offices or conservation programs. They don’t cost much to run but are a simple solution for animal owners with just a little too much to go around. They help farmers by giving them a place to dispose of animal waste that’s only real benefit is to the soil. They help gardeners by providing an inexpensive and natural source of fertilizer for their plants. And they help the public by cutting down on environmental damage or health hazards associated with raw animal waste.