Farm Horizons, February 2013

Manure Spreader Technician - Certified

By Lori Brinkman, Assistant Carver County Feedlot Administrator

While attending a University of Minnesota Extension Service workshop recently, I couldn’t help but overhear a few livestock producers exchanging information about their operations.

After sharing general information about their own farms, one individual included that he was also putting in a few hours at another farm and he jokingly referred to his job title as Wheelbarrow Technician – Certified.

This, of course, drew a chuckle from the other men at the table, as well as me.

While a less-than-desirable position, it’s a necessity on many farms, certainly not to the degree that it once was, but my guess is that the wheelbarrow gets used for one job or another on occasion – usually when technology fails us. What would we do without it?

This got me thinking of other less-than-desirable jobs on the farm, and not so surprisingly, cleaning the barn and hauling manure came to mind.

I can only assume that it’s not a favorite chore of many farmers.

I flashback to helping my dad clean the barn. It was my job to pull the breaker switch if the gutter started to back up as Dad scraped the paddles outside.

I also remember long hours of sitting on the tractor, as he filled load after load from the pile to haul to the field.

More recently, I remember the dreaded task of hauling manure to the field on a bitter January day after finally freeing the manure auger, only to have the chain that turned the sprockets break. Putting a half link in a chain when your hands are frozen is not a pleasant task.

As unpleasant a task as manure hauling or management may be, it is one of the few farm jobs that requires licensing and certification.

It is important to note that a farmer doesn’t need licensure if they are applying manure to their own fields. Hired hands applying manure to the fields of their employers also do not need licensure.

The point of licensure is to ensure that the manure applicator has knowledge about the job and the potential for manure runoff. Manure application regulations are the same, whether you apply manure commercially, which requires licensure, or if you apply it as part of your operation.

So, when you’re out on your field, no matter how many thousands of loads it feels like you’ve hauled or how cold the wind feels from the northwest, remember your role as Manure Spreader Technician – Certified.

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