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Mortality Management Featured at Ag Expo
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Throughout the duration of the Michigan Ag Expo, which takes place July 19 to 21, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about mortality management policies and practices through a series of presentations, tours and demonstrations.


Source: Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Eileen Gianiodis at 517-432-1555, ext. 230

Producers to Learn Options for Mortality Management at Ag Expo

Death is a part of life on all farms, and dealing with death is an important part of farm management for livestock producers. During the 2011 Michigan Ag Expo, producers and others who work with animals will have the chance to learn about the tools and techniques available to make the right management decisions for their farms as well as how to carry them out appropriately.

Throughout the duration of the Michigan Ag Expo, which takes place July 19 to 21, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about mortality management policies and practices through a series of presentations, tours and demonstrations. According to Dale Rozeboom, professor in the Department of Animal Science and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension specialist, all sessions will be based on the Michigan Bodies of Dead Animals Act (BODA), which governs mortality management in the state.

"We’re going to have presentations about all methods of mortality management, including updates about the traditional burial, incineration, rendering and composting methods," Rozeboom said. "Additionally, we’ll cover the new anaerobic digestion rules slated for approval and addition to BODA this year. These rules will provide farmers and animal businesses with a new way to recycle nutrients and capture energy."

Open pile composting will be demonstrated on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 11 a.m. to noon with sheep, bovine and equine mortalities, respectively. Included with each demonstration will be a tour of the MSU composting site. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at the Michigan Ag Expo grounds at least 30 minutes prior to the session and meet at the mortality management tent just inside the east gate in order to board transportation.

"We want to give people the chance to see the composting process in action," Rozeboom said, "and to give farmers the chance to see what all it entails."

All three 11 a.m. composting sessions qualify for Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) Phase I credits. Producers interested in obtaining those must pick up a registration form following the presentation and submit it to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to receive credits.

During the afternoon sessions, from 2 to 3 p.m. daily, attendees can learn about other composting methods, in addition to new opportunities within BODA guidelines for mortality management. On Tuesday, a demonstration of carcass reduction in a vertical mixer will show producers how the composting process can be sped up, as well as how to prepare carcasses for possible anaerobic digestion. On Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Kirk from MDARD will join MSU researchers to discuss the new anaerobic digestion rules for Michigan and best management practices for an anaerobic digestion system. Finally, several in-vessel composting systems will be demonstrated on Thursday.

"For those who are considering an option other than burial or rendering for their mortality management, we will introduce them to the options that are available. For those who are already composting but want to improve, they’ll see the techniques and management practices to help them do that," Rozeboom said. "This will be for both those that want to try something new as well as those that already have practices in place and just want to make improvements."

MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sponsors Ag Expo. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 19 and 20, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 21. Admission to the grounds and parking at Farm Lane and Mt. Hope Road are free.

To learn more about the educational sessions being offered at Ag Expo this year, visit the Ag Expo website at www.agexpo.msu.edu.

For more information about mortality management, contact Rozeboom at rozeboom@msu.edu or 517-355-8398. For more information about the Michigan Ag Expo, contact Megghan Honke at honkemeg@msu.edu or 517-353-3175, ext. 229.