Sometimes an issue regarding some type of organic material arises, and there is an opportunity for the members of the Maine Compost Team to undertake or participate in a special project seeking to address the concern.
Two examples to share were the composting of large animal mortalities and the state’s response plan for an avian influenza outbreak. In the first example, with the loss of reasonably priced rendering services, costs to farmers for disposing of their animal mortalities was rapidly rising, leading to often less than environmentally preferred disposal options.
The Maine Compost Team initiated a project where we set up various types of composting options for large animal disposal, which led to the eventual recommendation and development of ‘on-farm composting of large animal mortalities’.
That project has received international attention and provided an opportunity for the Compost Team to carry that work to several international conferences on the topic. With the second example, members of the Compost Team assisted the Maine Department of Agriculture in pulling together an action plan related to management of avian flocks should there be an outbreak of avian influenza within Maine.
With Department staff, we provided not only guidance on the plan development and content, but undertook a composting project focused specifically on chickens, to confirm the value of the composting process in managing the anticipated mortalities from such a disastrous outbreak.