Producers wanting to handle the death of their livestock in an economical as well as an environmentally beneficial way, can earn livestock mortality composting certification through a course offered by experts from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Whether a result of illness, old age, natural disasters or birthing problems, livestock mortality happens on all livestock and poultry farms at some point for a variety of reasons, said Clif Little, an educator with the college's outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension.

Of the four approved methods for disposing of dead livestock in Ohio, composting is the most cost-effective because it not only saves farmers money, it protects the environment and returns the animals' nutrients slowly to the soil, Little said.

Other options include incineration, burial and rendering, Little said.

Little noted that livestock mortality is something that can happen at any time, so producers have to be prepared to deal with the issue. Composting is something that allows producers to recycle the animals, and the leftover compost can be used to add nutrients to the soil.

This workshop is intended to meet the requirements for livestock producers who want to use composting for animals that die naturally or have to be euthanized, Little said.

Certification is required by law if producers want to use composting as a method to deal with livestock and poultry mortality, Little said. Ohio requires producers attend a mortality composting training session conducted by OSU Extension.

"Attendance at this workshop fulfills the legal requirement for conducting mortality composting on your farm," he said.

The workshop is 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 22 at the college's Eastern Agricultural Research Station in Belle Valley, Ohio, just off Interstate 77 in Noble County. Registration is $20 by noon on May 19 and includes a workbook and certificate. Details and a registration form may be downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/compostlivestock.