Jane Thery, Chair
In representation of the Maryland Horse Council, I participated in two meetings of the Study Group established by Maryland House Bill 171- Department of the Environment (MDE)- Yard Waste, Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure.
The MDE Study Group will produce a preliminary report of recommendations this year and a final report next year. The food waste community promoted this Study to reduce volume in landfills and recycle food waste via composting. The importance of representation of the horse community is to assure that new state rules and regulations on composting are user-friendly to horse farms.
My interventions in the first meeting included simplifying rules for on-farm composting, promoting traditional and new-technology composting via technical and financial assistance and increasing the number of composting facilities. After the first meeting, I received a call from MDE and provided additional information on the number of horses and manure management practices.
In the second meeting, the most interesting discussion was on how to increase the marketability of compost to generate final product value. This would include use by state and county parks and landscaping operations as well as private sales. For complete information on the Study Group agenda, reports and recommendations, see www.mde.maryland.gov/composting
Plans are afoot this year to revise the Farm Stewardship Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP) with the Association of Soil Conservation Districts and to host an MHC Farm Stewardship educational and fun field day. New ideas and volunteers are always welcome!