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On-Farm Composting Handbook

Publication Number: NRAES-54
Cost: $25.00
Length: 186 pages
ISBN: 0-935817-19-0

This publication was awarded a blue ribbon in the 1993 ASAE Educational Aids Competition.

This handbook presents a thorough overview of farm-scale composting and explains how to produce, use, and market compost. The information will be useful for farmers, waste producers, environmental regulators, and public health officials. Topics covered include benefits and drawbacks, the process, raw materials, methods, operations, management, site and environmental considerations, using compost, marketing, economics, and other options for waste management. Also included are 55 figures, 32 tables, calculations, references, and a glossary. (1992)

With increasing concern about the environment, composting has become an attractive option to turn problem materials and waste into a valuable product which can be returned to the land. The publication, On-Farm Composting Handbook, NRAES-54, presents a thorough overview of farm-scale composting and explains how to produce, use, and market compost.

The information is intended to help farmers decide whether composting or the use of compost is appropriate for their farm. For waste producers, environmental regulators, and public health officials, the handbook provides insight about agricultural composting and what it can reasonably accomplish. With this guide, those interested in a more effective means of waste management will be better able to plan and implement a farm-scale composting operation.

The On-Farm Composting Handbook is 186 pages long, with 11 chapters, 6 appendixes, a glossary, a suggested readings section, and a references section. The text is supplemented by 55 figures and 32 tables, as well as calculation examples, work sheets, and informative sidebars.

The 11 chapters cover the following topics: benefits and drawbacks of composting, the composting process, raw materials, composting methods, composting operations, management, site and environmental considerations, using compost, marketing agricultural compost, farm composting economics, and other options for waste management and composting. The 6 appendixes present the following information: characteristics of raw materials, equipment tables and manufacturers, troubleshooting and management guide, work sheets and forms, lists of state environmental agencies, and metric conversions. The glossary contains 150 words, and over 160 publications are listed in the references and suggested readings sections.

This publication was edited by Robert Rynk, extension waste management engineer, Extension Agricultural Engineering, University of Idaho. The team of writers were Rynk; Maarten van de Kamp, compost program consultant, Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture; George B. Willson, owner, George B. Willson Associates; Mark E. Singley, professor emeritus, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Rutgers University; Tom L. Richard, biological engineer, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Cornell University; John J. Kolega, associate professor emeritus, Natural Resources Management and Engineering, University of Connecticut; Francis R. Gouin, professor, Horticulture, University of Maryland; Lucien Lalibery, Jr., managing director, Farm Resource Center; David Kay, research support specialist, Agricultural Economics, Cornell University; Dennis W. Murphy, extension broiler specialist, Poultry Science, University of Maryland L.E.S.R.E.C.; Harry A. J. Hoitink, professor, Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University; and William F. Brinton, president, Woods End Research Laboratory, Inc.

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