Cornell University, NY Agricultural Composting Program

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Cornell University, NY, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


Agricultural Composting is a project of the Farm Services Department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. The primary goal of the program is to reduce the amount of waste Cornell sends to landfills and manage animal waste while producing a quality soil amendment product. The program is currently composting approximately 6,000 tons annually of animal bedding, greenhouse plant and soil waste, food scraps, and other agricultural crop residue on a compacted gravel pad with a runoff collection pond.

Farm Services is an enterprise department (meaning it must earn the funds it needs to operate) so it charges its customers a small fee, which is less than the cost of landfilling. This fee covers labor and equipment costs, and is low enough to provide incentive to other departments to compost their agricultural waste. No waste is accepted from off-campus, and all of the compost is used on Cornell's property.

Beneficial Impacts of Program:

  • Approximately 6000 tons of material is kept out of landfills annually.
  • Waste disposal costs have been reduced for several departments on campus.
  • Compost can be used on farm fields in place of chemical fertilizers.
  • Farm Services soils are improved and enhanced by the addition of compost.
  • The site provides a working model for others interested in large scale composting.
  • Composting is a useful tool in nutrient management Cornell departments