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Newsletter 
June 2018 

Newsletter Paragon

New Website Features

Our newly designed website is receiving a lot of positive feedback. This has been a fun project for us - one that we will continue to improve over time. Here's what's new since our last newsletter: 

A second search feature on our Projects page.

You can now search for systems located in your state. This is a two-part process. You must first select the type of system you are interested in, and then select your state. Keep in mind that what you see on our website is just a small sampling of the more than 1,200 systems we have sold worldwide. 

If you would like to add your system to our website, please email sherri@o2compost.com.

A new Testimonials page.

See what some of our clients are saying about us. We love this page because it gives us (and you) an opportunity to see the personal side of what we do. We may be a bit biased, but we think our clients are the some of the most friendly and good-looking people we know!  

Speaking of testimonials, here's what Lynn N. in North Carolina thinks about our new website design:

"Hey Peter and all, 

Just wanted to say how much I like the new website! It makes more sense to those of us who are artists instead of engineers or scientists. I think it will help you sell more systems by making people more comfortable about purchasing." 

 


A New Venture - Sky River Fish Compost

By Peter Moon

If you have been reading the O2Compost Newsletters over the years, you may recall that I have been attempting to set up a large scale fish waste composting operation here in Washington State. Over the past decade, my partners and I have encountered many unanticipated challenges, but we are now in a position to process upwards of 4,000 cubic yards of high quality fish compost each year. The following discussion highlights our story to this point in time, along with some of our strategies and goals.

Our Current Operation

We are composting whole fish combined with horse manure and stall bedding at a 50-stall facility in Sultan, Washington. We constructed a four bay aerated compost system using “Ecology Blocks”; each bay has a volume capacity of 80 cubic yards. 

We blend in 150 pounds of fish per cubic yard of horse manure, which is equivalent to 12,000 pounds of fish per 80 cubic yard batch. We obtain the fish from a local hatchery that rears them for their row and milk, which they distribute to other hatcheries worldwide. 

We cover the initial mix with a layer of finished compost to serve as our biofilter for odor control and to ensure that all of the raw materials reach temperatures that are sufficient to destroy parasites, pathogens and weed seeds. We aerate the pile for approximately 30 days then flip it into an adjoining bay for an additional 15 days of aeration. Following this, the compost is moved to a pasture and allowed to cure in a non-aerated pile for four to six months.

The initial mix does not contain any municipal waste and therefore there are no contaminants – no plastic, glass, metal, herbicides, pesticides or pharmaceutical by-products.

 Sky River Fish  Sky River Compost Bay

Post-Processing

Earlier this year, we obtained a portable screening plant from one of our landscaping clients. They had purchased a new “Orbit Screen” but quickly outgrew its capacity due to the growth and success of their composting operation. All of our fish compost is screened to remove the remaining manure balls and to produce a homogeneous product.

We also acquired an old bagging machine from another one of our clients in up-state New York. Because of a new job that requires a considerable amount of travel, he sold his bagger in favor of bulk sales which he can manage with his limited time on weekends.

Branding and Promoting

We call our compost “Sky River Fish Compost” because our facility is located near the Skykomish River in Western Washington. We selected a logo that reflects our local Native American heritage and we’ve prepared printed materials and a fledgling website that we invite you to visit: www.skyriverfishcompost.com.

Marketing Plan

We have focused our marketing efforts on two niche markets: 1) the upscale garden community; and 2) local marijuana growers (i.e., it is legal to grow and sell marijuana in Washington State). 

On the gardening side of our Plan, we have donated compost to local garden clubs to provided samples for their members to use in their own gardens. We are currently attending local farmer’s markets and handing out free samples as well as selling 1 cubic foot bags at a discount. Our objective in doing this is to identify the nurseries and garden supply outlets that people prefer to frequent over “the Big Box Stores”. We also want people to try our compost in side-by-side growth trials so that next year they are lining up for our bagged product.

With regard to marijuana growers, we have been providing compost for small scale growth trials at three grow facilities, and have seen very favorable results. One of the growers has ordered 40 cubic yards of our fish compost for his outdoor grow operation, which encompasses approximately two acres, all within high security fences. 

Farmers Market

Goals through 2020

Our primary goal for 2018 is to introduce our bagged fish compost to the western Washington garden market and to get people to try it and judge for themselves how well it works. Our second goal is to “sign up” at least 10 local nurseries to carry our bagged compost and to learn all about the wholesale and distribution side of the business.

Our goal for 2019 is to sign up 20 to 30 nurseries and garden material stores located between Bellingham and Olympia, Washington and to take pre-orders starting in October for the coming year.

Our goal for 2020 is to maximize our production capacity and to sell everything that we produce. The phrase “Waiting List” has a nice ring to it.

I’ll let you know how things go in our next newsletter.  PM


On-Farm Composting Workshop

Demonstration of an Animal Waste Management Technology
A Grant Funded Project through the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture

Friday, August 3rd and Saturday, August 4th

After a very long 18 months of trying to secure a demonstration compost facility, we are finally able to schedule our first set of workshops for On-Farm Composting of livestock manure in Maryland.

For your convenience, the one-day workshop will be presented from 10am - 4pm on Saturday, August 3rd and Saturday, August 4th at the Deale Community Library

The workshop will include a series of presentations by nationally recognized experts in on-farm composting, habitat preservation and farm planning. There will be hands-on demonstrations and ample time for open discussion among the participants. Following the presentations, the group will travel in their personal vehicles to the Veteran Compost demonstration site which features aerated  compost systems for all scales of operation (from one horse on up). Light refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Because the workshops are grant funded through the Maryland Department of Agriculture, all Maryland Residents who pre-register will be admitted at no charge, while non-Maryland residents will be asked to pay a registration fee of $25 per person at the door. All participants who register the day of the event will be asked to pay an entry fee of $25, and will be admitted on a space-available basis. This includes both Maryland and non-Maryland residents.

For more information or to register for this event, please contact sherri@o2compost.com, or call 360.568.8085.  


Stall Bedding Pilot Project

In 2011, O2Compost worked with the Snohomish County Conservation District to conduct a grant funded research project that looked at using horse manure compost as stall bedding. The results of this project were very interesting and somewhat unexpected, and are highlighted in a video that is included on our website.

Caitlin Price headed up the project for the Conservation District and she recently conducted a presentation on the long-term outcomes from this project. Here is her 16-minute presentation.


Frequently Asked Question

"What if I make a mistake?"

ANSWER:  Many of our new clients are afraid that their O2Compost system will not work because they have little to no science or engineering background. In short, they are afraid to make a mistake.

As a friend of mine once said, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly – at first”. 

None of us learned to speak, read, write or do math without making mistakes along the way. It’s called learning by doing. As adults, learning how to compost is far easier than any of these skills that we learned as kids.

In my training classes I discuss the stages of competency, boiled down to these simple terms: 

Novice

Unconscious Incompetence 

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Initiate

Conscious Incompetence

You Know What You Don’t Know

Journeyman

Conscious Competence

You Know What You Know

Master

Unconscious Competence

You Don’t Know What You Know

I also direct them to Peter’s Rules of Composting. Specifically:

Rule 9: It’s Important Critical to Make Mistakes (but Small Mistakes are Better than Large Ones)

To learn to compost one must compost. Developing a good compost mix and adjusting the rate of aeration (i.e., frequency, duration and volume of airflow) is a largely a trial and error process. I believe that figuring out what doesn’t work is considerably more important than figuring out what does work. 

Composting is all about working within acceptable ranges, and as long as we stay within these ranges, the process tends to sort itself out in the end.  Pushing the limits on these ranges (C:N, bulk density, moisture content and airflow) to the point where the composting process doesn’t work has reinforced my respect for these ranges.

Composting is easy when you know what you are doing, but “knowing what you are doing” comes only from making mistakes and then determining how to resolve those mistakes.  With your O2Compost Training Program, we will mentor you to your Mastery of Composting.  We Guarantee Your Success!


Stall Bedding Pilot Project

In 2011, O2Compost worked with the Snohomish County Conservation District to conduct a grant funded research project that looked at using horse manure compost as stall bedding. The results of this project were very interesting and somewhat unexpected, and are highlighted in a video that is included on our website.

Caitlin Price headed up the project for the Conservation District and she recently conducted a presentation on the long-term outcomes from this project. Here is her 16-minute presentation.


New Compost Systems Come Online

Medina Newsletter

MICRO-BIN SYSTEM

OWNER:  Domingo M.
LOCATION:  New Haven, CT

"It complies with the PFRP standard of heat "

ON OUR WEBSITE

 Ferrozzo Newsletter

BENCHMARK SYSTEM

OWNER:  Audrey F.
LOCATION:  Richmond Hill, GA

"We needed a 'green' solution that would dispose of the manure and recycle clean fill onto pastures."

ON OUR WEBSITE

 Taylor Newsletter2

CORNERSTONE SYSTEM

OWNER:  Lynn T.
LOCATION:  New Hartford, CT

"I am so glad I did this!"

ON OUR WEBSITE

 Arneson Lester Newsletter

ASP SYSTEM

OWNER:  Charlie A. and Chris L.
LOCATION:  New Zealand

"We found you on the internet and recognized advantages of the O2 ASP system."

ON OUR WEBSITE

 


Coming Events

June 4-8, 2018
American Public Gardens Association Annual Conference
- Southern California
Peter Moon will be at Booth #522 and also co-presenting "The Benefits of On-Site Composting" on Tuesday June 5th at 1:45 pm. For more information, visit:  APGA 2018 Conference

August 3, 2018
On-Farm Composting Workshop  (10am - 4pm)
Deale Community Library - Deale, Maryland
Demonstration of an Animal Waste Management Technology, funded by the Maryland Department of Agriculture
FREE for pre-registered Maryland residents. $25 for non-residents and Maryland residents who register at the door. For more information and to register, email:  sherri@o2compost.com  

August 4, 2018
On-Farm Composting Workshop  (10am - 4pm)
Deale Community Library - Deale, Maryland
Demonstration of an Animal Waste Management Technology, funded by the Maryland Department of Agriculture
FREE for pre-registered Maryland residents. $25 for non-residents and Maryland residents who register at the door. For more information and to register, email:  sherri@o2compost.com

O2Compost
Price-Moon Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 1026
Snohomish, WA 98291

360.568.8085
info@o2compost.com
o2compost.com
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