HARRISBURG, Pa. — As hundreds of thousands of people filed through the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex, hundreds of thousands of pounds of manure piled up.
While it’s not the sight or smell that draws the large crowds, it's still an important part of Pennsylvania’s agriculture.
"Cow manure goes to be spread on the fields of a farm or farms," Department of Agriculture Press Secretary Shannon Powers said. "It’s nutrients that build the soil. It's the ultimate recycling."
Manure is not the only thing that gets repurposed. Bedding from the horse stables is later turned into substrate for mushrooms.
Powers says the waste goes through the same process as composting to get the final product.
"It heats up in the container that it's in, breaks it down, eliminates the pathogens and it becomes a substance that is extremely valuable for building healthy soil and fertilizing healthy crops," Powers says
Recycling the large amounts of manure from the Farm Show helps provide a local and cost-effective resource for farmers in the commonwealth.
"If you're to go buy manure, it's expensive and this is a big source of manure," Powers said. "Manure is a very valuable commodity in agriculture."
It is also helpful to the environment by keeping the manure and bedding out of our waterways.
"It's very central to agriculture being stewards of our land and water resources," Powers said.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know the exact volume of manure, though it’s estimated to be nearly 650,000 pounds each year.