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Farm Composting Business

How to effectively create and manage a farm compost business

So we took the big step and purchased a farm. Our goal is to grow one hundred percent organically and start a farm composting business. Yes there are some suppliers of natural fertilizers however; the cost can be a major issue.

But can we not make our own organic soil amendment with natural products such as manure, leaves, and other organic materials such as dead plants?

The answer is yes we can. Not only will it benefit us financially but it will also help keep our farm healthy.

Lets take a look at some of the benefits of creating a composting business for your farm.

The benefits far out weigh any potential issues as long as you use common sense.

  1. Management of manure. By using your animal manure for your compost you are helping to take care of potential smell and heath issues. Use common sense and always wear gloves and a mask when handling animal wastes. Collecting your animal manure twice a week also helps keep flies down. Make sure you situate your compost pile downwind at least one hundred yards away from your primary residence and water source.
  2. Increased organic material and minerals in your soil. The main reason to use compost is to enrich your soil. By adding organic material you will increase your yields and also help prepare the soil for thefollowing years.
  3. You can sell your compost. Many people do not think of this option. However if you contact local garden shops and cooperative extensions you can ask them to resell your compost for you. Be prepared togive them at least a twenty five percent of gross commission.

So we can logically justify having a compost operation on our farm now how do we go about starting?

The first thing we need to determine is what can we mix together to make our compost. The following are a good start. Leaves saw dust (other then Black Walnut), pine needles, shredded paper (no colored sections only black and white), dead plants, wood chips, and animal manure (other then swine).

Try to make everything a similar size so it will break down uniformly.

What I suggest is to start out the traditional way with a large pile you can mix bi-weekly with a backhoe. The easiest way to do this is to gather all your materials together wet it all down well. Using the backhoe mix the compost together, again soak the pile with water mix again with the backhoe. We now want to cover our compost pile with a black tarp; this will help increase the heat inside the pile. One key thing to remember you need airflow within the pile itself so never pack your compost pile down. If anything fluff your compost up so it will get more airflow.

When you first start to clear your land or clean up the previous owners mess make sure you start your compost pile. Last years crops make great compost ingredients. Plan now for next year. If possible let your compost work for a full four months. Mix your compost once every two weeks and you will have wonderful compost that you can use for your crops and also sell. The ability to legally call your crops organic will also increase your margin. In a sense compost is Mother Natures way of rewarding the farmer for being environmentally friendly.

When in doubt think of compost like wine, the longer it ages the better it becomes.

Use common sense and you can effectively create and manage a successful farm based compost business.

Related:
Farm Scale Composting Resource List
On Farm Composting Handbook




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