Lancaster County Facility Ground Broke

News EditorWaste Management

A new facility that will compost manure from local farms, food waste from local schools and restaurants, and leaves and yard waste is being built in Lancaster County, Pa. Called Oregon Dairy Organics, the one-of-a-kind facility had its official ground breaking this week, and is set to be selling finished compost by this fall.

Most manure composting takes manure from the host farm only and is managed by the host farmer, which usually results in low quality final compost, with higher emissions of ammonia, and compost that is only suitable for on farm use. While many townships operate larger regional composting facilities for greenwaste, few of them accept manure because of the odor and transporting manure can be expensive beyond about 10-15 miles. These municipal facilities must add commercial nitrogen to make the composting work because greenwaste contains very little nitrogen, which is a required ingredient to make compost.

“The Oregon Dairy Organics composting facility will play an important role in helping Pennsylvania meet the co-equal goals of clean water and viable farms,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. “Knowing the important role Pennsylvania plays in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, we must find innovative ways to protect our natural resources and increase the profitability of our farms. The Oregon Dairy Organics team has created a model that will benefit the community, the farms and our waterways.”

“By working together and embracing a new approach to an old technology — composting — Oregon Dairy Organics has been able to develop a program that will benefit farmers, the community and water quality,” said Suzy Friedman, the project’s manager and deputy director of the Center for Conservation Incentives at Environmental Defense Fund. “Oregon Dairy Organics is an example of farmers stepping forward to improve water quality in local creeks, the Conestoga River, and all the way to the Chesapeake Bay.”

Oregon Dairy Organics brings together an innovative partnership to demonstrate how composting can play a bigger role in improving water quality in southeastern Pennsylvania and other areas of the Chesapeake Bay by giving farmers expanded options for nutrient management. The project combines the efficiencies and professional management of composting multiple waste streams at one site, with the need to avoid the size, traffic, and hauling expenses of a large-scale regional composting facility.

“This project is another example of the positive steps farmers can and are taking to clean up both Lancaster County streams and the Chesapeake Bay in an economically sustainable way,” said George Hurst, owner of Oregon Dairy in Lititz, Pennsylvania five miles north of Lancaster. “As a result of this project, manure, yard waste, and food waste will become an asset to agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay region.”

Oregon Dairy Organics has the diversity of partners and stakeholders needed to make it work: Oregon Dairy and the Hurst Family to provide a farm site for the project; a professional composting company, Terra-Gro, will help manage the facility and market the finished compost; a local agricultural consulting company, TeamAg Inc., to coordinate farmer participation in the project; and a nonprofit conservation organization, Environmental Defense Fund, to coordinate the overall project and secure needed funding.

Source: PR News Wire