New Compost Facility Opens

News Editorenergy, Organic

Pennsylvania has a new composting facility, Oregon Dairy Organics, which will use up to 20,000 tons of manure from a Lancaster County farm, Oregon Dairy.

The Hurst family, which operates the dairy along with an adjacent grocery store, partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund and Terra-Gro Inc. of Peach Bottom, Pa., on the project.

The 5-acre facility will initially use bedded packed manure from the farm to make compost. But the goal is to eventually open it up to other area farmers with excess manure to bring their waste in.

There are also plans to take in food waste and possibly green waste, including grass clippings and leaves, in the future.

There are five hoop houses on the site. One will be used for screening and loading waste coming into the facility. Another will be used for active composting. Two other buildings will be used for storage, and a fifth will be used as a utility building.

The facility has the capacity to produce 16,000 cubic yards of compost a year.

George Hurst, owner of Oregon Dairy, said the facility will enable the farm to better deal with bedded packed manure, which he said is not as useful on the farm because of its no-till plantings. Hurst said it will also allow for possible expansion of the current 1,000-head herd, 500 of which are milking.

It will allow us to export some manure and allow for continued expansion in the future, Hurst said, adding that the facility will process around 30 percent of the total manure currently produced at the farm.

The compost will be sold wholesale, Martin said, with most of it eventually ending up in landscaping, athletics fields and as specialized topsoil blends.

Hurst said there is a possibility in the future that some of the compost may be sold for retail at the Oregon Dairy store.

Source: Lancaster Farming