Coming in March: Course on Large-Scale Composting

Composting course

WOOSTER, Ohio — Keep organic material such as yard waste, food waste and manure out of landfills. Compost it instead.

So says scientist Fred Michel in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. An associate biosystems engineering professor, he is co-organizer of an event next month on breaking down waste in big volumes.

“Composting allows the valuable nutrients and carbon that organic materials contain to be used again, reduces fossil fuel use for fertilizers, reduces greenhouse gas emissions from landfills and can be done economically,” he said.

The Ohio Compost Operator Education Course takes place March 24-25 at the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, in Wooster in northeast Ohio. Its content focuses on running centralized, large-scale composting facilities. Examples include those for farms, businesses and municipalities.

The aim is to further the knowledge of compost producers, solid waste managers, farmers and others as more and more organic materials get diverted from landfills, Michel said.

Nursery operators, public health officials and environmental regulators, among others, also may gain by attending, he said.

The course covers a range of scientific, engineering and business topics, including site design, mix preparation, compost testing, state regulations, contaminant issues, how to manage compost piles and windrows for peak aerobic conversion and the fewest odors, and how to use composts to naturally reduce plant diseases and create value from waste.

“We’ll also touch on important issues such as persistent herbicides and biodegradable plastics,” Michel said.

The course will have classroom and laboratory components. The instructors will be from the college, from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and from industry, including CLC Labs, Barnes Nursery, KB BioEnergy and URS Corporation.

Registration is $175 for members of the Organics Recycling Association of Ohio and $225 for nonmembers. Registration includes all materials, continental breakfast and lunch.

The course schedule, a registration form, and lodging and other details can be downloaded at

For more information, contact Mary Wicks, 330-202-3533, Participants wishing to join ORAO and receive the discount rate should email Marcie Kress,

Continuing education units are pending approval for OEPA wastewater operator certification and for Ohio registered sanitarians.

Funding support to develop the course came from Ohio EPA’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund.

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Kurt Knebusch


Fred Michel