Friday, November 11, 2011

I Work With Manure

My title for my job is an Agronomist with The Maschhoffs.  It is okay if you have no clue about what I actually do for my job.  I'm not really sure where to start, but I will just jump in as best I can (questions are good!!). 
In Iowa, if you raise animals (depending on how many) you have to report those animals to the Iowa DNR at least once a year with a fee.  Every 4 years you are required to send in a Manure Management Plan.  This plan ensures that all manure generated from those animals is properly allocated to enough land.  I help to write these state required plans.  For my job, I mainly handle swine (pig) manure which is considered a 'liquid.'  This manure is literally applied to fields as fertilizer.  We actually help to sample the pits once a year to analyze the manure.  This helps the farmers to apply the manure on a more precise rate for the next crop growing season.  SIDE BAR:  I help to ensure that this manure is completely contained and used for this purpose.  When I visit the farms, I help maintain those plans as well as encourage good management practices (one example: mowing and making the site look nice).  I work closely with these farmers and that is one aspect of my job that I love. 

On our own farm we have pigs and cattle.  All of this manure is used as fertilizer on our farm to help reduce input costs and makes our farm 'sustainable' (when I use this word I mean:  our crop helps to feed our animals, our animals help to feed us, the animals' manure help to grow the crop). 

I work with manure, and I actually enjoy it :)

Our Cattle Barn