Sustainable Livestock Mortality Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $169,425.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Mark Hutchinson
University of Maine Extension

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis

    Proposal abstract:

    Sustainable livestock mortality management is a critical issue for livestock operators in the Northeast. The northeast United States has a substantial diversified livestock industry. Many producers are small compared to western standards, but are important to local food production and the overall agricultural system. All livestock and poultry farms have mortalities which must be managed. Sustainable carcass mortality management is a critical issue for livestock and poultry producers to maintain healthy and productive farms. Several recent issues have developed that restrict producers’ management options. Renderers no longer serve many of the rural areas because of economics. Burying is less appealing because of groundwater contamination concerns and winter burial conditions. Livestock producers are looking for alternative management tools for livestock mortalities. Composting is a sustainable mortality management tool. Composting of routine and catastrophic mortalities of livestock and poultry has been demonstrated successfully. Cooperative Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service staff needs training in proper livestock composting techniques. Three train-the-trainer programs will be conducted in the Northeast SARE region.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Three years after training 60, Agriculture service providers (ASP) across the Northeast SARE region in sustainable carcass management through composting, 500 farmers will adopt composting as carcass management practices. Project duration 4 years.

    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.