"Adding organic matter to the
soil renews and sustains the soil's nutrients, which is vital for
sustainable agriculture," said Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, University
of Illinois research specialist and coordinator of the tours. "But
composting manure and landscape waste also becomes yet another way
for farmers to use what they already have in abundance in order to
put it to use as an additional source of income."
Under a project originally
funded by the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research,
scientists from the University of Illinois and Illinois State
University conducted research to develop the correct "recipe" for
composting swine, beef and dairy waste with wood chips and other
landscaping materials. The landscape waste comes from collar
counties around Chicago. Now the project continues to loan equipment
to farmers who are interested in exploring on-farm composting.
"It gives farmers a chance to
try it without having the large capital outlay to purchase the
specialized equipment needed to get started," said Paul Walker, ISU
professor of animal science and coordinator of the Livestock and
Urbana Waste Research team. "They borrow the equipment for two years
and agree to host a field day as part of the arrangement."
The event on July 20 is the
Dumoulins’ field day. Walker said the Dumoulins have been very
successful and plan to continue in the composting business, having
already purchased their own equipment, larger than what was loaned
The field day will begin with
presentations on the how-tos of composting and nutrient management.
After lunch, there will be a tour of the composting site at the
Dumoulin farm as well as demonstrations of the turners, screeners,
grinders and other equipment.
"The field day will give
producers and municipal managers an opportunity to see how a
well-managed operation can benefit both producers and urban areas
economically and environmentally," said Duane Friend, a U of I
Extension educator who will be presenting information about compost
as a soil amendment during the morning session.
[to top of second column in
Four additional sustainable
agriculture tours are scheduled for 2004.
On Wednesday, Aug. 4, a tour
will include a wagon and walking tour of Sandhill Organics at the
Prairie Crossing Organic Farm, the neighboring conservation
community and Liberty Prairie Reserve. For more information about
the community, farm and reserve, visit
On Thursday, Aug. 12, there
will be a tour of Dennis and JoAnn Dickman's unique pastured poultry
farm in Herscher, and a chicken meal will be included.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, a
western Illinois tour will feature stops at several locations,
including John Brook's fee hunting operation, Baxter's Vineyard and
Winery, and Warren and Phil Barns' buffalo ranch.
The final tour will be on
Friday, Oct. 15, and will feature an agritourism tour at Eckert's
Orchard in Millstadt http://www.eckerts.com/millstadt.htm.
For additional information or
to register, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at (217) 968-5512 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or register
http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/. A small fee will be charged for
each tour. Registration at least one week in advance is required.
For a printable brochure that
includes details about all of the tours,
tours are sponsored by the Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture
Program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental
Sciences at the University of Illinois, the North Central Region
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional
Development Program, and the Illinois Small Farm Task Force.
of Illinois news release]