Compost Uses and Markets
Compost Uses and Markets: Expanding Opportunities
Mounting threats to our freshwater has placed an emphasis on developing effective management practices to limit pollutant inputs into our rivers, lakes, and streams. For places like the Western Basin of Lake Erie, which is plagued by regular toxic algal blooms, considerable focus is given to limiting nutrient runoff from agricultural fields which are often identified as a dominant nutrient source. Researchers, practitioners, and government agencies expend substantial time and resources on studying, incentivizing, and implementing best management practices to combat nutrient runoff.
A growing number of stakeholders are starting to seriously consider how focusing on management practices that prioritize “soil health” may play an essential role in both protecting water quality and improving a producer’s bottom line. Despite compost offering a diverse range of benefits to agricultural operations, from disease suppression, improved hydrologic functioning, and yield stability, its adoption has remained relatively low compared to other conservation practices.
This session will explore several factors (economic, social, and technical) contributing to stunted adoption rates of compost and more broadly, soil health initiatives, within agriculture. Addressing these factors will help demonstrate the capacity of compost to positively impact broader environmental initiatives and policy objectives throughout the U.S., ultimately expanding the compost market.