The On-Farm Compost Work Group

California's Healthy Soils Initiative

The On-Farm Compost Work Group is an interagency collaboration between 15 federal, state, and regional agencies. The group is committed to developing a regulatory pathway to address permitting challenges and create incentives to support on-farm composting of agricultural materials to decrease nutrient loading, reduce agricultural burning, and improve soil health.

What does the work group do?

The work group will form and oversee committees focused on permitting and regulatory alignment, the net community impact of on-farm composting, and solution implementation. The work group and committee efforts will exclusively address the challenges in composting agricultural materials on an operational agricultural site at a non-commercial scale.

These committees will work with subject matter experts and community stakeholders to develop proposals and deliverables. The work group will review, discuss, and approve the proposals and deliverables developed by committees. The process will be coordinated by CDFA, USDA NRCS, CalEPA, and U.S. EPA.

What are the expected outcomes?

The specific deliverables will be determined and developed through the committees. Some suggested deliverables include:

  • Proposals, if applicable, for how on-farm composting regulations could be better aligned across agencies, including strategies and timelines for implementation
  • A manual to clarify regulations and best practices for farmers to make it easier to navigate the permitting process
  • Data regarding the net impact of on-farm compost including recommendations to mitigate impacts and promote public health and safety, particularly for disadvantaged communities

How long will the process take?

The work group kicked off on December 12, 2019 and will meet in person every six weeks for a year. Committees will meet more frequently to develop proposals and deliverables for the group’s review. Each proposal or deliverable will have its own implementation timeline. It is anticipated that the committees will begin soliciting stakeholder input in mid-2020.

Work Group Updates

The most recent work group meeting took place in April 2020. The group discussed committee logistics as well as metrics for assessing progress in scaling up on-farm composting. The first committee meetings will take place in late May (specific dates in the right-hand column). The group established next steps for each committee. The permitting and regulatory alignment committee will be reviewing the agricultural materials definition for the purposes of this group and discuss air permitting. The net community impact committee will be discussing baseline data for the identified metrics as well as setting example scenarios for case studies. The implementation committee will be discussing current best practices for on-farm composting and constraints/opportunities that producers have identified.

Get Involved

The work group committee meetings will be open to subject matter experts and community stakeholders. If you would like to get involved by attending committee meetings, contact either:

Upcoming Meetings

Permitting and Regulatory Alignment Committee – June 3, 2020 from 10:00 am-11:00 pm (web conference)
Net Community Impact Committee – May 28, 2020 from 1:00-2:00 pm (web conference)
Implementation Committee – TBD

Lead Agencies

CDFA logo
USDA logo
CalEPA logo
EPA logo