Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind Gene Logsdon

Gene Logsdon is a farmer in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, which inspires me to hope that I might meet him someday.

I found the book Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind when I was looking for a couple of other books by Joel Salatin. I couldn't pass it up when I saw the title. It's been great — full of wonderful information, and also eminently readable.

There is a plenty of good advice in here, including methods for moving the stuff, some information about composition, data on various animals, production, etc. I might note the following:

  • "Over the last two centuries, cheap manufactured fertilizers and a seemingly unlimited acreage have allowed the United States to become the champion wastral of the world." (p. 6)
  • "Societies, becoming successful … lose sight of the vital connection between their daily lives and farming….. Waste becomes a burden to be buried in middens instead of being returned to the soil as fertilizer. The rich and the educated take their food for granted and distance themselves from the task of food-getting." (p. 149)
  • "Ducks and Geese in terms of manure handling may be the easiest animals to keep of all…. If, for example, you are raising fish in the pond, the fish can actually fatten on the manure." — referencing Getting Food from Water (p. 112)
  • Improving sanitation with composting toilets (p. 161)
  • 2500 flushes/person/year (p. 171)
  • 180 lbs of feces and 90 gallons of urine/year (p. 174)
  • "Sooner or later, we must learn to live in the same world as our colons." (p. 187)

This is from the Publisher's website:

  • In our family we have a standard joke that every conversation, even around the dinner table, eventually winds up about manure. And Gene Logsdon, in his naughty and inimitable style, has captured the essence of soil building, pathogen control, food ecology and farm economics by explaining the elegantly simple symbiosis between manure and carbon. What a great addition to the eco-food and farming movement. Logsdon's deep bedding approach for livestock housing, elegantly explained and defended, is the primary fertility engine that drives all of us beyond organic farmers. Read and heed. —Joel Salatin, Author of You Can Farm and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer
  • "With a combination of deep knowledge, longtime farming experience, and great humor, Gene Logsdon tells us everything we don't know about human and animal wastes, and what to do about it. As the author writes, 'Sooner or later we have to live in the same world as our colons.' Not to mention the wastes of all the animals we raise for food! This is the book to read if you give a crap about crap." —Sim Van der Ryn, Author of The Toilet Papers
  • No one knows more about the backside of agriculture (and the front side, and everything in between) than Gene Logsdon, truly one of the shrewdest practitioners and wisest observers of farming and agriculture. He doesn't care much for social taboos or politeness, and challenges us to see land, animals, ourselves, and, yeah, shit, as parts of one system—whole and undefiled—and maybe discover the Holy in the excremental. This is Logsdon at his best; Holy Shit is a national treasure. —David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, and Senior Adviser to the President, Oberlin College
  • Gene Logsdon is one of only three people I know who are able to make a living exclusively out of writing what should be common sense. Here he has done it again. —Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute
  • "In the revolution Gene Logsdon envisions, we need pitchforks, but not to mount the barricades. And what a joyful, reverent, irreverent, hard-working, down-to-earth, realistic, Whitmanesque, animal-loving, microbe-nurturing, compost-making, farmer-sensical, manure-pitching revolution it is!" —Woody Tasch, Author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered
  • Common sense and just the right amount of folksy humor make this treatise on feces a pleasure to read whether or not you've ever knowingly come within 50 miles of a compost heap. Logsdon writes for a wide scope: how to recognize a manure spreader for those who don't know; the finer points of old-fashioned pitchfork tines, for readers who actually use them. In addition to lots of clear DIY instructions for utilizing waste, Logsdon, a blogging farmer in Ohio, draws from his boyhood experience during the days of the privy, his Amish neighbors, and his understanding of how ancient China saw agricultural productivity rates the likes of which we've never had in the U.S. Ultimately, the real coup here is that this book overcomes the yuck factor and illustrates how, as with many things American, we've taken a natural, healthy, efficient system and replaced it with something expensive, toxic, and marketable – in this case, chemical fertilizers. As food locavores gain visibility and popularity, so too should the rear end of sustainable farming practices. —Publisher's Weekly
  • "This could very well be one of the most important books ever written. Few people realize that the subject of excrement is so critically important, complex, and timely. Thankfully, Gene Logsdon has provided humanity with a literary gift that addresses this most basic and fundamental subject with wisdom, humor, poetry and reverence. Holy Shit belongs in every bathroom in every home. The book is great. I love it." —Joseph Jenkins, author of The Humanure Handbook
  • The Contrariest Farmer
    • "Experts say that ten tons of animal manure and bedding per year can adequately fertilize an acre of farmland. Therefore we have enough pet manure in this country to fertilize something like 20 million acres every year. If a farmer is paying out $100 an acre for commercial fertilizer (right now it’s lower than that, last year higher) we’re talking about a value for pet manure of something like two billion bucks. And the cost of throwing it away in the landfill or sewage treatment system is a whole lot more." p. 27, the Contrariest Farmer
    • "The bed of a livestock trailer can be lowered almost to ground level so that the hog or cow or sheep can walk into it with only the slightest step upward. Makes all the difference in the world." p. 30
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