AMES, Iowa – Now in its 21st year, the Iowa manure applicator certification program continues to train and certify the state’s manure applicators on the best ways of handling, hauling and applying livestock manure.
Three programs were offered this year, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Nearly 1,300 confinement site applicators attended the Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification trainings, required for producers who have more than 500 animals in confinement. Currently, there are more than 1,960 certified confinement applicators in Iowa.
Some 2,218 commercial applicators attended the Commercial Manure Applicator Certification workshops. There are currently 605 certified commercial manure applicator businesses in Iowa, compared to 562 last year.
The Dry Manure Application Certification workshops drew 120 applicators during five workshops held in February.
The certifications are part of the requirements of Iowa legislation passed in 1998, intended to educate, train and certify the state’s manure applicators about the best ways to handle, haul and apply livestock manure.
Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agriculture engineering specialist at Iowa State, said the program continues to evolve, with new training opportunities and a focus on practical, hands-on lessons that benefit farmers and protect resources.
“The manure applicator certification program offers a lot of value to our state,” Andersen said. “I think we’re doing a good job of managing manure as a resource, but there’s always room for improvement.”
In recent years, Andersen and the other Iowa State staff involved have tried to make the training more farmer-inclusive, in ways that include their own experiences and concerns, and provide more “peer-to-peer learning opportunities.”
The cost for the commercial applicator certification is $200, and the cost for the confinement site applicator certification is $100.
Andersen said that while some applicators may see the certification as a burden, most understand it helps to keep them current and in compliance with the latest practices.
“Most of them do see the value in the program and certification,” he said. “I think they understand that we have to do things right.”
Next year’s in-person training will be held in January and February, with video and online opportunities year-round.
More information about the program and nutrient management is available on ISU Extension and Outreach’s Iowa Manure Management Action Group website.
Additional partners include the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa Commercial Nutrient Applicators Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Environmental Council, and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.