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Fertilizer exchange offered

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Free program offers win-win for farmers and gardeners

With spring-like weather in February, many gardeners are feeling the itch to dig in the dirt and prepare beds for plantings of a future harvest.

The Mason Conservation District has organized a Manure Exchange Program. This free program matches local livestock owners who have excess manure on their property with gardeners in search of inexpensive (free!) local fertilizer.

The goal of this program is to help farmers off-load excess manure that they don't want to manage on site, according to Stephanie Bishop from the conservation district.

"If not properly managed large quantities of excess manure can wash away in a storm, ending up in our local streams, lakes and marine waterways," Bishop explains. "This, along with septic failure and fertilizers, can contribute to excess nutrient loads causing big problems with the local economy and threatening the productivity of the shellfish industry as has happened in sections of Hood Canal and Oakland Bay. By recycling this tremendous resource, we can all work toward improved water quality in Mason County."

The conservation district has compiled a list of local livestock owners who wish to share their manure. The owners have provided information such as their location, how they can be contacted and what type of manure they have available for pick up, Bishop says.

"This program is designed to help people share manure with one another, so no fees are charged for the material. Please remember that manure can often be a source of pathogens and weed seeds, and should be treated as raw organic matter and allowed to fully compost before further use," Bishop advises.

She adds, "We are always seeking livestock owners to participate in the program." For more information on the program or to sign up as a manure donor contact Bishop at 360-427-9436, Extension 13.

Anyone with questions on how to do use the manure safely, can contact the conservation district office at 427-9436 or the Mason County Master Gardeners at 427-9670, Extension 396.

Copyright 2010 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 18, 2010

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