Dairy farms unable to participate in state projects needing compost

  • December 30, 2019

Save Family Farming has written a letter to the Washington State Department of Transportation urging them to alter language in the laws regarding using dairy compost for WSDOT projects. 

The state doesn’t allow dairy manure to be used for DOT projects needing compost, even though it would save taxpayers a lot of money. 

“Dairy compost is a valuable commodity used by many non-dairy farms. It is particularly important for our state’s growing organic farming community. Increasing the markets for and value of dairy compost also helps our dairy farmers to continue their progress in improving efficiency and environmental protections,” the letter says. 

For a current project with DOT, about 150,000 yards, or 50,000 tons of compost is needed. A company doing a bid for the project says two years of compost from a 5,000 cow dairy farm would cover what is needed.

Dairy farms are unable to participate in DOT projects — even though a DOT document detailing compost requirements specifically allows for dairy compost, the specifications appear designed to disallow its use.

Dairy farmers work hard to be sustainable and would be able to contribute more if they were allowed to use their compost for state projects. 

Taxpayers of our state benefit from greater competition among compost suppliers. Our farmers benefit from having access to the Department’s projects.

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If you want to help out, you can write a letter to the Secretary of Transportation, or print out the one we sent and forward it along.

Hon. Roger Millar

Secretary of Transportation

P.O. Box 47300

Olympia, WA 98504-7300