Fall 2005

Who Needs to be Certified as a Manure Applicator?


By Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

TableQuestions from manure applicators at a recent field day showed that there is still some confusion about who needs to be certified. Manure applicators also had questions about which type of applicator certification is right for them.

In addition to meeting manure applicator certification requirements, applicators are reminded they must also meet applicable separation distances for land application of manure. A fact sheet identifying these requirements can be found at this url. Applicable separation distances for land application of manure must be followed during application.

There are two types of manure applicator certification: commercial and confinement site. Commercial applicators are companies that charge a fee to transport, handle, store or apply manure and are in the business of applying manure. Whether a sole proprietor or a business, the commercial company, its manager and each of the employees involved must be certified. If fees are being charged for the nutrient content of the manure, the applicant must be commercially certified.

For commercial applicators, the source of the manure does not matter. Manure can be from a confinement feeding operation, an open feedlot (confined, but unroofed or partially roofed) or a small animal feeding operation. Manure can be liquid or dry. Certified commercial representatives do not need to have a separate confinement site certification to apply manure from their own facilities.

Confinement site applicators are those who apply manure from a confinement feeding operation manure storage structure and do not charge application fees or for the nutrient value of the manure. Confinement site operators whose facilities contain 500 animal units or less are not required by law to be certified, but are encouraged to attend training classes and must follow proper application techniques (see Table 1).

An applicator who is actively engaged in farming and trades work with another producer or who has a custom farming operation and applies manure as anincidental part of that operation must still be certified. In this case, the applicator does not need the commercial
certification, but does need to be certified as a confinement site applicator.

Jeff Prier of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources can answer questions about who needs to be certified and what kind of certification is needed. He can be reached at (712) 262-4177.


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