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Chicks Talking 
For centuries, farmers have recognized the value of manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, the value of manure as an alternative energy source continues to gain momentum, even as more and more farmers are realizing the benefits of recycling manure vs. purchasing commercial fertilizer products. This page contains valuable information for:

  • Citizens who want to learn about how farmers manage manure resources.
  • Farmers who are considering switching to manure as a crop fertilizer; and
  • Farmers who are already recycling manure on their fields as a valuable nutrient source.
chickens  
MANURE IS HAPPENING AND IT'S OK. Manure is a fact of life on the farm and an important element in the food production process. Farmers have long recognized the benefits of manure as a crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, farmers still use manure to grow their crops while using the latest environmental practices to protect water quality. Learn more.
 
cows HAVING OR GIVING OFF A SMELL, ESPECIALLY A STRONG OR DISTINCTIVE ONE 
Maryland farmers work hard to be good neighbors when spreading manure, but sometimes odors are unavoidable. Farmers who till their fields work manure into the soil. This helps cut down on odors and nutrient losses. Farmers who have switched to no-till farming practices to improve their soil's health, spread manure on top of their fields when conditions are right. All farmers rely on good planning and favorable weather to reduce odors and protect water quality. Watch a YouTube video produced by the Chesapeake Bay Program on how farmers are working to protect the Bay.​
 
manure pileHEALTHY FARM PRACTICES are not only in style, they're in demand. On Maryland's Eastern Shore, farmers recycle chicken manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Keeping manure away from waterways is a big deal. Some farmers till manure into the soil to reduce odors and nutrient losses. Farmers using no-till practices to improve their soil's health spread manure on top of their fields. These farmers are required to install wider buffer zones and other measures to protect local streams. Either way, healthy farming practices never go out of style. Learn how chicken farmers manage manure. 

THE LADIES ROOM IS THIS WAY. If only managing livestock manure were so simple. Dairy farmers work hard to protect local waterways from runoff. They install fences, crossings and alternative water sources to keep cattle out of streams. They plant streamside buffers to capture runoff when it rains and they recycle manure from the milking parlor as a valuable crop fertilizer. These sustainable practices are good for both the animals and the environment. Learn how a family-owned dairy farm is working to protect water quality (USDA website). 

FOR CENTURIES FARMERS HAVE RECYCLED MANURE as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, farmers take recycling to the next level by using the latest environmental practices to prevent manure from washing into waterways. Poultry and livestock farmers store manure in protective structures until it's safe to fertilize their fields. If soil tests show that their fields are over-enriched, they haul the manure to other farmers to recycle following strict environmental guidelines. It's how we recycle on the farm. Learn more. 

pile of manure with lightbulbWE HAVE A BRIGHTER IDEA
New technology is helping us to see manure in a whole new light as we capitalize on its potential as a renewable energy source and look at new uses and management options. Maryland is investing in innovative manure management technologies, including manure-to-energy projects that turn chicken manure into power and help farmers find new uses for this abundant natural resource. Learn about our Animal Waste Technology Grants.

strike pay dirt with manureTHINKING ABOUT SWITCHING TO MANURE?
Farmers: If you want to improve your soil, increase yields and save on commercial fertilizer costs, why not switch to manure? Livestock and poultry manure make an excellent crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Manure contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium plus a host of micro-nutrients you'd pay more for in commercial fertilizer products. As an added bonus, manure’s high organic content builds soil and promotes water and nutrient retention. Grants to haul and incorporate manure into your fields are available along with tax breaks for qualifying equipment. Contact your Soil Conservation District for free help in making the switch. 
 
baby chicks
ALREADY USING MANURE? Technical and financial resources are available to farmers who use manure to fertilize their fields. Participation in financial assistance programs requires compliance with all Maryland nutrient management regulations. Check out the links at right. Free technical assistance is always just a phone call away at your local Soil Conservation District.
 

Contact Information

Hans Schmidt
Assistant Secretary
Resource Conservation

Telephone: 410.841.5865
Fax: 410.841.5736

Office Address
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401

Jenny Rhodes, poultry farmer