Farmers Surveyed on Composting

Survey Reveals Interest, Questions about On-Farm Composting

A survey of Frederick County farmers indicates interest in expanded use of off-farm organics to make compost.

The survey, done in advance of the May 22 Farm Composting Summit, garnered 55 responses out of 80 farms surveyed. Of those, 68% indicated that they are already composting materials from their operations and 47% said they would be interested in considering accepting outside materials. In their comments, they cited a need for guarantees of quality, non-contaminated feedstock (incoming material); a wariness of regulation of the operation; and a need to find the space and labor to be successful. More than half of the respondents, who said they are cautious about taking off-site material, cited the same reservations.

Indeed, 87% of those who would like to expand composting said their most important reason would be to amend the soil of their own property. As a secondary reason, the possibility of an alternative income to accept food waste was an attractive benefit. A typical comment from the survey said: “I would like to expand composting on the farm to increase the volume of compost I can produce; to reduce organic matter from the community’s waste stream; to better utilize the whole nutrient capacity of Frederick County and avoid importing nutrients.”

The top reason (68%) given by those who were reluctant to expand composting on their farm was their assumption that additional labor and time would be required for the operation, followed by difficulty of acquiring quality feedstock (36%). Regulatory issues was cited third (33%)

Interestingly, 47% of the respondents said they already land-spread materials on their farm land; and 37% said they feed food scraps to animals on the farm.

The e-survey, sent by the Frederick County Office of Economic Development, was conducted anonymously from a list of 80 agricultural properties. The survey was done to gauge feasibility and ways of expanding composting operations for Frederick County. The survey was drafted and monitored by the Frederick Compost Workgroup, a volunteer coalition of stakeholders interested in expanding composting of all organic materials (yard trim, landscape and woody waste, and food scraps) in Frederick County.

For more information on the survey, attend Table to Compost: Frederick Compost Summit on May 22, 2017, from 8:30-12:30 pm at Foxhaven Farm, Jefferson, MD. Tickets ($5) can be purchased here. The Summit is open to all farmers, citizens, businesses, and interested stakeholders.

This was originally published here.

Frederick Compost Summit tickets

Envision Frederick County
Frederick Compost Summit (May 22 at Fox Haven Farm)
April 2, 2017


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