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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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This page contains links to web sites and pages having to do with Composting. The information is divided into the following categories:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle logo

Industry and Municipal Composting

Sites involved with large-scale municipal/industry aspects of composting.

  • The Composting Council is a trade group that supports composting as a solid waste solution.
  • Woods End offers professional environmental services and products for industry, organizations and governments worldwide. The page also has great information about ecologically oriented events happening all over the globe.
  • Compost School taught by The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will provide training to people interested and/or involved with medium and large-scale composting operations. This course is offered as a certificate program by UMCE and will train personnel to be qualified compost site operators.
  • BioCycle Magazine extensively covers the issues of composting and recycling.

Agricultural Composting

Literature citations that document the science-based practices that have developed for production and use.

  • Composting Poultry Mortality with recommendations on size of composter and recipe of materials.
  • North Carolina Composting Data Sheets will help all types of users create an efficient compost recipe.
  • Ohio State Extension has a bulletin on Livestock Manure and Wastewater Management.
  • Low-Input On-Farm Composting of Grass Straw Residue - a ARS publication on composting grass straw residue as an alternative to field burning.
  • Test Methods for the Examination of Composting and Compost (TMECC) is an on-going Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF) Project, funded in part by USDA.

    The TMECC project mission is to provide detailed protocols for the composting industry to verify the physical, chemical, and biological condition of composting feedstocks, material in process and compost products at the point of sale. Material testing is needed to verify product safety and market claims. TMECC provides protocols to sample, monitor, and analyze materials at all stages of the composting process, i.e., prior to, during and after composting to help maintain process control, verify product attributes, assure worker safety, and to avoid degradation of the environment in and around the composting facility.

    Standardized methods for testing and evaluating compost quality are needed by compost producers, state regulatory and permitting agencies, compost product marketing specialists, state and commercial testing laboratories, and agriculturalists, horticulturists, landscapers, and other consumer sectors. Compost and compost blends are subject to extensive interstate transit and use on public and private lands.

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Literature Citations

Literature citations that document the science-based practices that have developed for production and use.

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Discussion Groups

Here are a few of the numerous discussion groups out there that give a great medium for information exchange dealing with composting issues.

  • To subscribe to Woodsend send mail to and in the body of the text include:
    subscribe Your Name
  • If you want to subscribe, send mail to with the following request:
    subscribe AG-IMPACT Your Name
  • Cornell University has a discussion group called Compost.
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Research Units

Research Units and other interested groups

  • Cornell University has educational material and programs which were produced in part through Compost Council funding.
  • Institute of Waste Management, University of Essen, Germany includes educational materials from the German Federal Compost Quality Assurance organization, and the Ministry of Environment and Health.(German Language Only).
  • Global Recycling Network is a free-access public site dedicated to connect industry, research, business, and other users in the recycling-related goods and services.
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Agricultural Uses of Municipal, Animal, and Industrial Byproducts

The USDA has a publication on Agricultural Uses of Municipal, Animal, and Industrial Byproducts.

Order a free copy.



Sites dealing with vermicomoposting (composting using worms).

A passage taken from the Leopold Center roundtable piece. A comment by former Pres. of Practical Farmers of Iowa, Tom Frantzen, who said: "If you'd ask me what I think is the healthiest soil on our farm, I would tell you that I think I could find it and I would not need my eyes nor any of my senses other than my ears. You might laugh at this, but my daughter and I have been out in a chunk of pasture that's been seeded down for seven years under intensive management. If conditions are right, I can hear the earthworms."

  • WWW.WORMWOMAN.COM A site that talks about vermicomposting in your own home. This site also sells literature about vermiculture and vermicomposting bins.
  • A site that kids will enjoy learning about worms and their role in nutrient recycling. There are also instructions included on how to build your own vermicomposting bin.
  • Cityfarmer is a site that focuses on a non-profit society that promotes urban food production and environmental conservation. They talk about an interesting project happening in Vancouver dealing with Vermicomposting.
  • Earthworms: You may wish to pose your unanswered question to an earthworm bulletin board at: or contact Dennis Linden at
  • USDA-ARS studies on Earthworms in Agricultural Ecosystems.
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Drawing of compost bin

Backyard Composting

These are great sites that have a vast amount of information on common backyard composting.

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Canadian Sites

Composting related sites that are based out of Canada.

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Low-Input On-Farm Composting of Grass Straw Residue
A new 32-page ARS publication, Low-Input On-Farm Composting of Grass Straw Residue
(publication No. ARS-142), by , W.R. Horwath, L.F. Elliott, and D.M. Bilsland, explains the effects that various composting procedures have on reducing straw volume. These procedures provide a necessary alternative to open field burning, which is being phased out in many regions through legislative mandates. The publication is available free of charge, while supplies last, from:

Donald Churchill
National Forage Seed Production Research Center
3450 S.W. Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331-7102.

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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