Midwest Compost School addresses Compost Practices

Name and Position/Title:
Kapil Arora, Field Agricultural Engineer

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
POW 160 - Natural Resources and Stewardship
Sub-Plan 164 - Utilization of nutrient management indices and tools

Midwest Compost School addresses Compost Practices.

Facilities undertaking composting operations generally need training on various best management practices that can be incorporated in the composting process.  A better understanding of such practices is needed as composing is a biological process dependent upon the physical and chemical properties of the materials being composted.  The process is further impacted by management strategies adopted along with level of technology used.

Extension educators from Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, and Texas A & M University teamed up to deliver a three-day intensive training on best management practices for composting.  This training was delivered as Midwest Composting School which was held at Landscaping Arboretum, Chaska, MN from June 7 through 10, 2009.  A total of 45 participants from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota attended.  Participants consisted of engineers, consultants, farmers, agri-business professionals, commercial composters, and regulators.  Participants attended a combination of in-class and field activities where they worked in teams to learn different problem solving tools which they can apply in their daily operations.

Participants received training on various best management practices that can be applied for matching compost materials and available technology to end uses, understanding compost process variables and recipe development, using monitoring equipment and control charts including tools such as recipe calculators. Participants learned various testing methods, how to interpret results, and use of composted organics for erosion control.  Participants completed evaluations for level of knowledge gained on individual learning topics.  Results of these evaluations show that the level of knowledge was doubled on average for the participants.  All participants rated the school as good or excellent, and agreed that field exercises helped to better understand the learning topics.  When asked if the education provided was effective in meeting their needs, ninety-nine percent of the participants found the education useful for their composting operations.


POW 160 - Natural Resources and Stewardship


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