Managing Organic Wastes PWT Annual Report, Oct. 2002-Sept. 2003


The Managing Wastes PWT continues to engage diverse stakeholders including government agency personnel who are responsible for managing wastes, regulating wastes and funding waste-related research and outreach; livestock farmers; compost producers; NGOs and private consultants as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension educators and Cornell faculty and staff.  Participation in meetings and projects helped to reach hundreds of NYS farmers, educators, students, composters and staff with up to date research-based information and also served to keep us abreast of current issues. We continue to use email to facilitate communications and materials are available on the WWW (through the Cornell Waste Management Institute www site at 

Substantial progress was made on numerous PWT goals including composting of mortalities and butcher residuals.  A NESARE project that involves collaboration among faculty, CCE educators, agency personnel, NYS Dept. of Corrections, farmers, butchers and other stakeholders in NY, PA and VT was funded and work commenced.  It includes research (focus on pathogens) and outreach (focus on best practices for composters and regulators).  Through the PWT work including demonstration sites, composting is becoming an accepted option.  Through these same efforts, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NRCS have developed guidelines and standards for mortality management through composting.  NYS Department of Transportation is a new stakeholder for this PWT.  They have become involved in the mortality composting since disposal of road killed animals is a significant issue.  Discussion was also initiated with DOT as a potential user of compost in erosion control as well as landscape construction. 

Implementation has commenced on a project involving numerous collaborators (CCE educators in several counties, CU faculty, organic lawn care co., grape grower, compost producers, other stakeholders) directed at working with the turf, landscaping and vineyard industries to enhance NYS compost markets.  The project involves research (impacts on soil health being studied in collaboration with soil health PWT members; plant response being studied in collaboration with Landscape Horticulture PWT members and though a CU landscape architecture course) and outreach (work with the relevant industries to develop compost use guidance and use the research sites for demonstration).  Sources of funding include USDA, Cornell and NYSERDA. The relationship between composting practices and compost quality was studied in a project partially funded by NYSERDA and advice and technical assistance are being provided to composters to help them refine practices to create composts that best meet market needs.

Models for “cooperative” or “collaborative” composting whereby several farms work together since any single farm may not produce enough compost to compete in the market place are being developed as part of a newly funded project (partial Empire State Development funding, collaboration among numerous stakeholders). 

Recognizing the need for education at a more than basic level, an Advanced Composting short course was organized that drew more than 45 diverse participants (composters, regulators, CCE educators, ag advisors, farmers, agency staff) from all over the world and included instructors from PA, ME, IO and WI as well as NY. Evaluations showed that participants learned a tremendous amount and highly valued the experience. More locally-based courses also reached NYS composters and farmers. 

Dairy is the largest agricultural sector in NYS.  Working jointly with faculty and with ProDairy extension staff, guidance materials on mortality management (“Natural Rendering” video won “outstanding new extension publication of 2003,” fact sheets available on the CWMI www site) and on use of sewage sludges on dairy farms (available on the CWMI www site) were developed and made available.

At a PWT meeting held in Albany in April, 2003, 20 such participants discussed proposed changes in the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets rules pertaining to fertilizers and their relation to composting.  The meeting was widely advertised and was open to all.  Some of those who attended followed up with meetings with several legislative staff.  As a result of their interest, a bill that exempted compost from fertilizer rules was proposed and passed both the Senate and Assembly.  While vetoed by the Governor, DAM is working with the Farm Bureau and others to develop rules that address the unique aspects of compost that make it a misfit under the current fertilizer rules.

Names, titles, affiliations, and contact information for program work team members.  Please note with asterisks those who are external stakeholders.


Benjamin, Michelle, CCE Schuyler Co, Rural-Urban Ctr, 208 Broadway, Montour Falls, NY 14865;; 607-535-7161

Bonhotal, Jean, Extension Associate, Cornell Waste Management Institute, 101b Rice Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-8444

Bouldin, Dave, Prof. Emeritus, Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University, 920 Bradfield Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-1731

Brown, Nellie, ILR Extension, Cornell University, 237 Main St, Ste 1200, Buffalo, NY 14203;; 716-852-4191

*Darling, Mark, Recycling Coordinator, Ithaca College, 201 Physical Plant Bldg, Ithaca, NY 14850;; 607 274-1777

Eller, Bob, Horticulture Educator, CCE Wayne Co., 1581 Rt 88N, Newark, NY 14513;; 315-331-8415

*Fiesinger, Tom, NYS ERDA, 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY 12203-6399;; 518-862-1091

Gabriel, Aaron, CCE Washington Co., County Office Building Annex, Lower Main St, Hudson Falls, NY 12839;; 518-746-2560

*Goodale, Douglas, Ph.D., Dean, Agriculture and Natural Resources, SUNY Cobleskill, 100 Curtis-Mott Hall, Cobleskill, NY 12043;; 518-255-5323

Grant, Jennifer, IPM Turf, NYS AES, 15 Kennedy Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 315-787-2209

Gruttadaurio, Joann, Dept of Horticulture, Cornell University, 20 Plant Science, Ithaca NY 14853,, 607-255-1792, fax: 607-255-9998

Haith, Doug, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Eng., Cornell University, 308 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-2802

Harrison, Ellen, Director, Cornell Waste Management Institute, 100 Rice Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-8576

Hay, Anthony, Microbiology, Cornell University, B53A Wing Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-8471

*Hosking, Linda, Empire State Development, ESI, 30 S Pearl St, Albany, NY 12245;; 518-292-5340

*Johnson, Sarah, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, 661 A Lansing Rd., Fultonville, NY 12072,; 518-922-7937, Fax 518-922-7646

Lamboy, Jana, IPM Ornamentals, NYS AES, 15 Kennedy Hall, NY 14853;; 315-787-2207

*Marion, Jim, NYS DOCS, ENYCF, Division of Industries, 601 Berme Rd, Napanoch, NY 12458;; 914 647-1054 x 1653

Michaelides, Adam, CCE Tompkins Co, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca NY 14850;, 272-2292 ext. 124

Petrovic, Martin, Dep. of Horticulture, Cornell University, 20 Plant Science, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-1796

Rangarajan, Anu, Dept of Horticulture, Cornell University, 121 Plant Science, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-1780

Regenstein, Joe, Dept. of Food Science, Cornell University, 8 Stocking Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-2109

*Sellew, Paul, Executive Vice President, Synagro Technologies, 84 Shady Brook Lane, Carlisle, MA 01741;; 978-371-0501

Severson, Keith, Executive Director, CCE Chenango Co, 99 N. Broad St., Norwich, NY 13815;; 607 336-6961

Steenhuis, Tammo, Dept of Biological and Environmental Eng, Cornell University, 216 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853;; 607-255-2489

*Suarez, Julie, NYS Farm Bureau, PO Box 992, Rt 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077;; 518-436-8495

Telega, Lee, ProDairy, Cornell University, 90 State St, Ste 600, Albany, NY 12207;; 518-462-2553

Tyler, Lucia, Dept of Horticulture, Cornell University, 135-A Plant Science, Ithaca, NY 14853,; 607-255-7884

*Wolfe, Gale, Chemung County Sewer District, 600 Milton St, Elmira, NY 14904;; 607 733-2887