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URBANA, IL -- University of Illinois Extension will offer a unique workshop for livestock producers who use or are considering mortality composting. The Animal Mortality Composting Workshop will be held on Thursday, August 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Sterling, IL.

"This workshop gives livestock producers the opportunity to visit an active composting site and talk with a variety of experts on mortality composting," said Morgan Hayes, a clinical professor with the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at Illinois and a member of the Illinois Extension Livestock Facilities and Manure Management team.

The workshop begins at 10 a.m. at the Jordan Township Building, and the morning session will include several presentations on different aspects of carcass composting. Ted Funk, retired Extension specialist with ABE, will discuss the regulations for on-farm mortality composting. Dale Rozeboom, a professor and Extension specialist from Michigan State, will go over the basics of composting. Matt Roberts, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will talk about the programs that are available through the NRCS and the facility designs they are proposing and how to use them.

In the afternoon, the workshop will move to a nearby farm, and there will be a series of demonstrations on moisture control, selection of a carbon source, and measuring temperature in the compost. "At the end of the workshop," said Hayes, "we will turn a compost pile that has already gone through a full heat cycle so that producers can see when they should turn a pile and what it should look like."

Hayes said, "We expect the audience to be largely swine producers, but we're using steers for our demonstration to ensure that we don't have any bio-security concerns for pork producers coming to the event. The size of the animal might change the timing, but the process is the same for all species."

Online registration at the Illinois Extension Livestock Facilities and Manure Management website is limited and closes on August 21. There is a $40 fee for the first registrant and $10 for any additional persons from the same farm. Registration includes lunch for each attendee and a heavy-duty thermometer (for each farm) to use in composting. Spanish translation will be available.

The workshop is sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers, the Illinois Soybean Association, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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