Animal Mortality Composting Facility

Completed animal mortality composting building
The completed animal mortality composting building provides an environmentally safe area to compost dead swine. Each bin is sized to hold a different stage of the composting process.

What it is:

Composting provides a safe and desirable method for disposing of livestock and poultry carcasses by converting nitrogenous materials (manure and animals) and carboniferous materials (straw or sawdust) into a humus-like substance.

How it helps:

When properly managed, composting substantially reduces the volume of carcasses, kills most pathogens, prevents odors, and produces a stable, odorless, humus-like material that is useful as a nutrient source and soil amendment. By eliminating the on-site burial of large numbers of carcasses, composting facilities reduce the potential for groundwater contamination and protect public health.

Animal mortality omposting building with composting agents
A combination of materials, including horse manure and sawdust is used as a composting agent. The dead livestock are buried in the piles and allowed to break down for a designated number of months. The pile is then turned and transferred to the next bin for further composting until the material can be utilized as fertilizer.

Planning ahead:

Consider on-farm traffic patterns, wind direction, drainage ditches, sensitive areas, topography, and proximity of neighbors in determining where to place the facility. Also, determining an estimated death loss will help to properly size the structure. Producers can work with their local SWCD/NRCS office using Animal Mortality Facility Practice Code 316 Standard and Specification. Ohio Revised Code requires producers also obtain certification prior to composting.


Obtain and follow a written operation and maintenance plan from NRCS. As a minimum, the instructions should detail the materials to be used in the compost mix, moisture content, temperature to be achieved, aeration schedule, and end use for the compost. The compost facility should be inspected at least twice a year, when empty, for structural integrity.

Additional Resources:

Field Day with Jordan

Ohio Farm Bureau's Director of Water Quality and Research Jordan Hoewischer hosts conversations with experts and leaders who are helping to shape and secure the future of Ohio's ag industry for generations to come.