Ag experts explain balance between happy neighbors and manure use

Ag experts explain common misconceptions with manure

It's no secret - manure can really help the soil, but it can sometimes come with an unpleasant odor. Agriculture experts shared some details on finding balance with the fertilizer that’s been used for centuries.

"Sometimes we think of the negative aspects of manure like the odor or whether we have some potential for it leeching into the ground water," said Todd Whitney with the Phelps County Extension Office.

He said it is farmers' responsibilities to talk with neighbors about what they might assume to be just an unpleasant smell.

"There's 16 elements that help plants grow and most of those can be found in manure," Whitney said.

As Nebraska is one of the top corn producing states, Whitney said these crops need the nutrients in manure to grow.

"We've seen a lot of benefits from using cattle and swine manure," said local farmer Jon Isacson, who works for a manure-hauling business.

Isacson explains his day-to-day process.

"We're getting into the lagoon with a lagoon crawler that you can drive into the lagoon, and that boat has a big pump that stirs the manure so that when it gets ready to pump it out, there's a consistent product that our customers are going to like," Isacson said.

He said there are ways to eventually help control smell.

"We want to be good neighbors and neighbors need to also understand that they're trying to make a living and how they're also helping to be good stewards,” Whitney said.

Both Whitney and Isacson said neighbor issues are definitely one of the most important things in rural agriculture.

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