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GRAPHIC: US ag census showed fewer farms used manure as fertilizer in the Midwest

Between 2017 and 2022, the number of Midwestern farms that used manure as fertilizer decreased from 137,305 to 118,944, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture.

South Dakota and North Dakota saw the most significant reductions in the use of manure-based fertilizers, each having a 22% decline. Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois also experienced decreases of 17%.

Farmers traditionally use livestock manure for fertilization due to its valuable nutrient content, which is essential for crop growth. 

Manure is commonly used as a fertilizer to supply the nutrients necessary for crop production. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, its use on farms becomes more prevalent when commercial fertilizers are expensive. However, mismanagement of livestock manure as fertilizer can lead to environmental issues, including the contamination of water sources.

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This article first appeared on Investigate Midwest and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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