Manure Nutrient Recycling and Environmental Assurance

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $75,075.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Natalie Rector
MSU Extension

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, soybeans, wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, swine, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, grazing - rotational, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops, nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Michigan State University Extension Agents plan training and programs through an Area of Expertise (AOE) team system. Past successes of the Field Crops AOE Team have lead to changes in agent’s attitude, behavior and programming toward sustainable agriculture. Training planned and delivered by the agents, for the agents, has been well received. Working through Extension provides the opportunity for sustainable practices to reach mainstream farmers. A model of working with farmers, on their farms, implementing and evaluating field plot demonstrations has been successful both in training agents and in farmers adopting more sustainable practices. Continuing with this strategy and focusing the future projects on manure nutrient recycling and environmental protection is timely and needed in Michigan. Building on the existing and varied knowledge of Extension agents, Groundwater Technicians, private consultants and NRCS will provide a combination of resources needed in manure nutrient recycling at a time when farmers are seeking these skills for environmental protection. These skills need to include sound agronomics, be socially acceptable and economically viable for the producer. An organized, multi-faceted approach to class room training, opportunities for agents to re-teach in their local areas, model farm on-site trainings, and working directly with farmers on systems at the farm level will provide a diverse and effective method of training. Paralleling the goals of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) will build a strong state-wide program, benefiting all of agriculture. A state-wide group of farm service and regulatory agencies, commodity groups and environmental concerns has created MAEAP. This voluntary program is designed to educate producers (concentrating on livestock and dairy in the initial year) of the benefits of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning (CNMP). Utilizing a CNMP as an educational tool, professional educators and producers will learn to evaluate all aspects of manure and livestock production as it relates to land application, odor control and environmental protection. This will ultimately lead to measurable changes on farms that benefit the producer and protect the environment.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Awareness of total farm nutrient systems recycling by Extension, NRCS, Groundwater technicians, private consultants will be increased.
    • The knowledge base of these persons will be increased in the specific areas of N-P-K recycling, rate per acre of manure and its nutrients, total farm nutrients, assessing and controlling nutrients to surface waters.
    • The attitude that manure is a valuable nutrient resource will replace the old attitude that manure is a necessary evil to deal with.
    • Educators will be alert to the potentials for preventing environmental contamination at farmsteads and in land applications.
    • Educators will be skilled in the components of a CNMP and have a grasp of the educational value this process can have.
    • A survey tool will guide educational efforts to the greatest needs of farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.