Midwest Compost School a Multi-State Effort
University of Illinois Extension hosted a Midwest Compost School June 2-4, 2015 in Lake County. The school has been conducted annually since 1995, but this is only the second time that Illinois has hosted, and the first to be facilitated by University of Illinois Extension. The school, a collaborative effort with Extension Specialists from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin along with compost experts in Illinois, targets mid to large scale compost operations in the private and public sector.
Approximately 30 participants from Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota heard presentations on compost quality, regulations and permitting, facility development, and the economics of composting. In addition, registrants participated in hands on testing and monitoring of compost at Midwest Organics, a composting operation in Lake County. A tour of DK organics in eastern Lake County was also part of the school.
Evaluations included the following comments on how knowledge gained from the school would directly impact the participant’s compost business:
· ( I have a) Much better understanding of what it takes to make quality compost.
· ( I learned how to) Speed up in processing my feedstock windrows. Learned more about the added importance of moisture, porosity, bulk density.
· I learned SO MUCH!! Cost of equipment, market demand, the “sweet spot” for O2, moisture, C:N ratio, bulk density….All of these things will help us research our market and test our feed stocks.
· How to better manage current mortality composting. The economics of composting.
Participants were tested at the end of the school, and all received certificates of successful completion.
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