Apple Maggot Quarantine Rule Change

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) filed a CR-101 to initiate a rule change to expand the apple maggot quarantine area into parts of Okanogan County. During the 2017 survey season, WSDA’s apple maggot survey program identified a reproducing population of apple maggot in the pest free area of the Methow Valley.  The Apple Maggot Working Group (AMWG) recommended that WSDA initiate the rule change, after reviewing WSDA’s survey data presented at the annual meeting in February.  The AMWG includes member stakeholders and cooperators from county, state, and federal government agencies, industry representatives and academia, and who provide guidance and recommendations to WSDA’s Apple Pest Certification Program. 

Updates to WSDA’s current rule making activity, including the rule change to the apple maggot quarantine boundary, can be followed at the following website address;

More information on WSDA’s apple maggot program can be found at:

NASA and the Washington State Soil Committee Agree Biochar are "Superstars"

In an article on the Daily Press website, NASA Langley scientist touts biochar: as an ‘environmental superstar.’

From the article:

“Biochar can be made from common organic waste material — from chicken and cow poop to sticks and brush from your yard. It can make environmentally unfriendly synthetic fertilizers obsolete. It can trap nutrient runoff before it pollutes places like the Chesapeake Bay. It can even filter out toxic heavy metals from water.”

The Washington State Soil Health Committee has funded two grant projects featuring biochar. One of the biochar projects is in San Juan County and the other is in Mason County. Below are the summaries of each project.

San Juan Conservation District:
Continuation of biochar project begun in 2016. Following up on the original six-farm test plots, in which biochar was added to soil, the yield will be evaluated in the spring of 2018. In addition to the test plots, biochar kilns were designed and provided to forest landowners on each of the four ferry-served islands. Workshops were offered on each island to demonstrate how to make biochar from forest waste. Online instructions are available for making biochar at home.

Biochar was added as an alternative to the slash burns in the County’s draft Solid Waste Management Plan.

The San Juan Conservation District also starts a new three-year project to introduce no till-direct seed practices to the county, including use of cover crops to improve soil health and limit use of chemicals.

Mason County Conservation District:

The goal is to fill the knowledge gaps on the effects of biochar in the Mason County region. The project will involve measuring the effects of biochar on the balance of pH, the retention of nutrients, the amount of soil microorganisms in local soil types, and crop yield.

Carbon Coating Gives Biochar its Garden-Green Power


International team of researchers has illuminated unprecedented detail of biochar's seemingly miraculous properties

Date: October 20, 2017

Source: Colorado State University

Summary: New research has demonstrated how composting of biochar creates a very thin organic coating that significantly improves the biochar's fertilizing capabilities.

Click here for the full story.

DVO Phosphorus Recovery System

Edaleen Dairy, Lynden, WA


Edaleen dairy is a 1,800 wet-cow dairy in Northwest Washington State producing an approximate 7% total solids manure wastewater from a combination of alley-scrapers, maternity barn flush and parlour/wash water. This manure wastewater is then pumped to a DVO mesophilic mixed plug-flow anaerobic digester that practices limited co-digestion with off-farm organics (<5% volume). Effluent from the digester is then sent to a GEA/Houle two-stage, slope-screen solids separator for separation of fibrous, coarse solids. The resulting liquid, still containing large amounts of suspended solids and associated nutrients, is sent through a DVO Phosphorus Recovery System, which is a modified dissolved air flotation (DAF) system. Separated solids are a wet but stackable product rich in nutrients, particularly phosphorus. Final liquid wastewater is then sent to lagoon for storage and subsequent land application.

Click here to read more.

Pagliacci's Sustainability Efforts Close the Loop with Delicata Squash, Grown in Compost at Oxbow Farm

Delicata Squash.jpg

Pagliacci Pizza has been locally owned and operated since 1979. Their current seasonal pizza, the Quattro Stagioni, features Delicata Squash, one of many seasonal items sourced from local farms throughout the year. The Delicata is grown at Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center in Carnation, using Cedar Grove’s organic compost.
In 2006, Pagliacci was one of the first restaurants in the Puget Sound region to begin an organics recycling program in its restaurants.  The company worked closely with Cedar Grove and local public utilities departments to help develop commercial composting programs and support the infrastructure for what would become the region’s composting program.
"Working with local seasonal foods everyday inspires us to look after our environment. We actively seek fresh ways to use less and use wisely whether it’s composting boxes and food waste, saving water and energy, or doing our part to bring ’green’ power to the Pacific Northwest from local utilities.", said Matt Galvin, co-owner.
“Closing the urban food loop is a new challenge and opportunity in our modern regional food system. To have a local composting facility gather ‘waste’ from local restaurants and grocers opens opportunities to apply compost with greater impact. Oxbow’s organic production farm grows fresh Delicata squash, Lacinato kale, and summer squash in that very compost —and Pagliacci then purchases the veggies from Oxbow to nourish the population!” said Adam McCurdy, farm manager.
In 2016 alone, Pagliacci diverted approximately 750 tons of food scraps from the landfill to be composted locally at Cedar Grove.  Because food waste in a landfill creates methane gas, diverting food scraps to composting can help in reducing effects caused by climate change.  Additionally, when used in farming, compost sequesters carbon in the soil, so the benefits of creating compost and then using compost in agriculture are significant.
“Pagliacci’s commitment to sustainability is making a direct impact on the carbon footprint of their restaurants and the local food system,” said Karen Dawson, director of marketing and community relations, Cedar Grove.
Well before Seattle’s city ordinance, they also took the bold step of procuring and using compostable or recyclable food service ware in their restaurants, working closely with Cedar Grove to ensure that each product going in the compost bin was actually compostable at their facilities. Not only this, but they purchase pizza boxes that are FSC Certified, meaning responsibly sourced from sustainable tree farms in the region.
Pagliacci’s sustainability efforts do not end with their pizza or pizza boxes.  In addition to sourcing local produce and their robust composting program, they also purchase green power from Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy and have since 2006.  Those local utilities draw renewable energy from Washington State Dams, the Stateline Wind Project and the Hanford Solar Facility – resources generated right in Washington State.
Pagliacci also prioritizes using Green Seal certified cleaning products and secured LEED certification for its delivery kitchen in Madison Valley since the location opened.
The Quattro Stagioni Primo will be available until next week. With cream-coloring and green stripes, delicate squash is known for its culinary quality. The flavor has a hint of brown sugar, and when roasted with crimini mushrooms, red onions and radicchio in homemade garlic oil, the sweetness of the squash is complemented nicely by the bold, slightly bitter flavor of the radicchio.  Creamy fresh mozzarella over an Italian tomato base finish off this savory spectacle. 
To find a Pagliacci near you, click here.

To learn more about Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, click here.
To learn more about the benefits of compost in agriculture, click here.
To learn more, and to order online, please visit

Better soil could trap as much planet warming carbon as transport produces: study

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Improving soil health in farmlands could capture extra carbon equivalent to the planet-warming emissions generated by the transport sector, one of the world’s most polluting industries, experts said Tuesday.

Soil naturally absorbs carbon from the atmosphere through a process known as sequestration which not only reduce harmful greenhouse gases but also creates more fertile soil.

Better soil management could boost carbon stored in the top layer of the soil by up to 1.85 gigatonnes each year, about the same as the carbon emissions of transport globally, according to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

“Healthier soils store more carbon and produce more food,” Louis Verchot of the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement.

Click here to read more.....

Annual Conference Attendee List, Presentations & Survey

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Thank you for attending WORC's 2017 Annual Conference!
"Bringing Our Soils Back to Life"

November 14-15, 2017
Semiahmoo Resort, Blaine, WA
Your participation was appreciated!

Evaluation Survey - please click here to complete the survey. Your feedback is greatly valued! 


Speaker Presentations - please visit our website for presentations from the conference.

Thank you again to all of our wonderful sponsors!



Quick Update Regarding the Solid Waste Handling Rules

The Washington State Department of Ecology is preparing the latest draft of the rule, along with responses to previous comments.  We will update you on the general process at the same time.  If you know someone who may be interested in this rulemaking and might benefit from joining our ListServ, please pass this message along to them.

The Solid Waste Handling Standards ListServ is the best tool for keeping up to date on rule development. You can join, resign, and otherwise manage your subscription to this ListServ by clicking here.

Thank you for your interest in the Solid Waste Handling Standards.

Kyle Dorsey
Senior Biosolids & Rules Policy Analyst / Statewide Coordinator
Statewide Resources Section
Waste 2 Resources Program
Washington State Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600 Olympia, WA 98504-7600

Ag Energy Solutions finds unexpected market for biochar

 David drinkard, ceo of ag energy solutions inc., predicts the carbon logic product line will make the 7-year-old agricultural technology company profitable within a year.

David drinkard, ceo of ag energy solutions inc., predicts the carbon logic product line will make the 7-year-old agricultural technology company profitable within a year.

Carbon Logic, the first product line to be produced by Ag Energy Solutions Inc., of Spokane Valley, is going to pot—yes, the green leafy stuff.

Ag Energy originally was formed in 2010 to make equipment to convert agricultural waste into energy. For now, however, the company has pivoted its mission to market the byproduct the equipment produces, says David Drinkard, Ag Energy CEO. And one of its first customers is the marijuana industry. 

“We originally started building a gasification system that can take agriculture waste and covert it to make energy,” Drinkard says.

The heart of the system is a machine called an integrated biomass platform, which “cooks” feedstock, such as wheat straw, and converts it into two products; a synthetic flammable gas and a carbon-rich solid called biochar, he says.

“We were planning on selling the equipment.” Drinkard says of Ag Energy’s original mission. “The idea was for farmers to use agricultural waste to generate synthetic gas to fuel water pumps and sprinkler systems.”

During the development process, however, Ag Energy determined the biochar that the integrated biomass platform produces has more potential value than the energy the IBP produces, he says.

Click here to read more.

Carbon Farming: California Focus on Soil to Meet Climate Water Goals

A pioneering program in California aims to sequester carbon, improve water resources and boost plant growth, by treating the soil beneath farmers’ and ranchers’ feet as part of a living system.

 Jose Ortega, left and Fidel Meza work the soil in Lemoore, Calif. The state’s new Healthy Soils Initiative gives money to farmers and ranchers to experiment with building healthy soil for “carbon farming.”AP/Gary Kazanjian

Jose Ortega, left and Fidel Meza work the soil in Lemoore, Calif. The state’s new Healthy Soils Initiative gives money to farmers and ranchers to experiment with building healthy soil for “carbon farming.”AP/Gary Kazanjian

Soil’s ability to capture carbon and store water has led to an upsurge of interest in this often overlooked natural resource.

In California, a new program called the Healthy Soils Initiative is about to put unorthodox farming practices to the test. With modest grants of up to $50,000 administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), a network of farmers and ranchers throughout the state will embark on a series of experiments in carbon farming.

The term refers to improving soil health by biological processes that limit the amount of synthetic chemicals applied to crops and adopting techniques aimed to reduce nutrient loss.

Kevin Muno is among the converts. He and his business partners at the Santa Ysabel Ranch run a cattle operation called the Land of Milk and Honey. Located about 40 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, it is the southernmost of the ranches testing the efficacy of carbon farming methods in California.

According to Muno, his goal is to restore the ecology of the landscape through a series of practices that he calls regenerative agriculture. The aim is to improve soil quality and to promote vigorous plant growth. By demonstrating the ecological services that carbon farming can provide, he and his partners believe they can prosper and conserve resources. “Humanity can benefit,” says Muno. “People in the city like clean air and water in their reservoirs. If we manage the landscape correctly, we can have those things.”

Click here to read more.

Can we firght climate change- by turning up the heat?

  Producing biochar. Photo - Photo - Wilson Biochar,   .

Producing biochar. Photo - Photo - Wilson Biochar,

What if we could combat climate change by making mountains of charcoal? It's not as crazy as it sounds.

Here's the backstory: Part of the mission of Ecology's Waste 2 Resources program is supporting recycling in the state. That's not just bottles and cans and newspapers, it's also food and grass clippings and other organic material. That's what composting is all about – recycling organics.

A lesser-known part of that organics recycling work is what's called "waste to fuels." Anaerobic digesters are one example of this – digesters capture the methane from decomposing cow manure plus other organic material like food and green waste, and repurpose it as natural gas, either for heating or generating electricity.

Another example is biochar. And here's where we get back to saving the planet.

Biochar sounds sort of mysterious, but you might have a bag of it already out by the grill.

"This term 'biochar' is a new term – we used to call it 'charcoal,'" said Mark Fuchs, a hydrogeologist with Ecology's Eastern Regional Office in Spokane.

"It's pretty cool stuff that we're looking at," said John Cleary, an Ecology engineer also working on waste to fuels. "We're trying to find new ways to look at waste."

Charcoal (and biochar) is produced when you partially burn woody debris, removing moisture and volatile compounds. To produce biochar efficiently, you use a process called pyrolysis, where the wood is heated in the absence of oxygen – meaning that you do as little actual "burning" as possible. After all the volatiles cook off, you're left with a block of what is mostly carbon.

Click here for more information.

New Bee Better Certification for Farmers and Ranchers Who Help Bees on America's Working Lands!

The NRCS works with conservation partners like the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to help farmers plan and implement conservation practices that benefit bees and other pollinators. Through a new certification program - Bee Better Certified - agricultural producers can inform consumers that they are farming in ways that benefit bees.

Funded by a grant from the USDA, the Xerces Society partnered with Oregon Tilth to develop and launch the Bee Better Certified program.  The project received a $350,000 Conservation Innovation Grant in 2016 from the NRCS which Xerces matched to develop and test the first-of-its-kind program.

After piloting the program with 13 farmers over the past few months, Xerces and Oregon Tilth are now opening it to farmers nationwide. 

Click here to read more!

Free Webinar: Designing a Waste-Free Solution.

A discussion with Materials & Packaging Specialists, Natural Food Product Manufacturers, and Compost Operations Providers.

Join us at 10 am (PDT) on July 13, 2017 to explore the future of innovative design in compostable materials for food products.

Focusing on compostable flex packaging, materials specialists and the companies that are leading the way will discuss introducing new materials into the wider market. 
Facility operators will discuss the end-of-life of these products, and how they are handled within the various processes of industrial composting. We will examine the support needed (e.g. proper labeling) and consumer education issues related to the disposition and viability of compostable packaging materials. 

We hope to bring those responsible for the beginning of a product's life together with those who are ultimately left "holding the bag".

Produced by the California Resource Recovery Association’s Recyclers Global Warming Council (CRRA-RGWC), with web hosting provided the National Recycling Coalition (NRC).

Register today for this webinar & please share with your networks!

Get Water-Saving Tips for Your Home and Garden

Join us on June 13th to learn how to reduce your water use and save money

Summer is just around the corner and that typically means higher water bills.

Please join us at the upcoming Four Creeks Unincorporated Area Council meeting on June 13th to hear from two speakers who will provide you with water-saving tips for your home and garden. Ashley Mihle from the King County Loop Biosolids program will talk about landscaping and gardening using soil amendments, and Chris Hoffer from Tilth Alliance will offer tips for water-efficient and cost-effective measures inside your home. The event is sponsored by the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

When?  Tuesday, June 13thPresentations start at 7:00pm

Where?  Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 78 located at 20720 SE May Valley Rd., Issaquah.

Refreshments will be provided. 

Read More

Check Out the Latest with WORC!

April 2017 News

President's Message

Dear Members,

You may have noticed recent change with the Washington Organic Recycling Council. During the last three years we have been working hard to grow WORC as the organics recycling industry leader in Washington and have expanded our influence significantly.

The WORC board, as always, has been working quite hard for our membership and we are now successfully disseminating that information to our members. I hope that you have seen our quarterly newsletters that include interesting articles and information on various topics....


Board Member Spotlight

Sam Schaefer-Joel, WA St. Dept. of Agriculture

Sam Schaefer-Joel has been on the WORC Board since 2014 and currently serves as the Material Input Coordinator for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) Organic Program.

Sam grew up in Olympia, WA and has a B.S. in Biochemistry and an M.S. in Plant Biology.  He has been working in the field of Organic Material Review since 2011 and has a lifelong fascination with the alchemy of transforming wastes into resources through composting and anaerobic digestion.

Being on the WORC Board helps keep Sam informed of current issues in organics recycling that affect certified organic growers and manufacturers of agricultural input products. In turn, Sam provides the Board with knowledge of USDA Organic Regulations and WSDA policies as they relate to organics recycling.

Member Spotlight

Rexius Forest By-Products

Rexius Forest By-Products joined the WORC membership in 2017.   Although new to WORC, Rexius has been in the organics recycling business for over 80 years and employs over 200 people. Rexius provides an integrated suite of services ranging from composting and delivery to irrigation and landscaping services.

Rexius is headquartered in Eugene but also offers delivery and blower application services throughout the Portland Metro region.

Rexius currently has five potting soil and compost products registered for use in organic production with the Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Program.

Read more

In the News

The Compost King of New York
With a million tons of organic waste to manage each year, New York City is looking for solutions to the disposal issue. Anaerobic digestion could be part of the solution.
Read more

Professionally Certifying Compost Operations Managers
USCC has launched a new compost certification program for compost operations managers.
Read more

Swedish Supermarkets Replace Sticky Labels with Laser Marking
This trial run is designed to eliminate packaging, but could be a boon for composters.
Read more

NorthWest Biosolids BioBull Library
WORC members can sign in to the Members section of the Northwest Biosolids site with the following log-in information.  Once you're there, click on Member Access menu item on the top navigation pane and scroll down to access to the searchable Information Portal that includes their entire Resource Library, eBulletin blogs and informational materials.
User - member                        Password - nwbiosolids17
Please note that Northwest Biosolids will be assigning custom logins in the future so that members can directly request articles from the Information Portal.  In the interim, you can send your requests for articles directly to Sally Brown.

Contact for a copy of the Northwest Biosolids March eBulletin.

Become a Member!

WORC is the forum that provides education, networking, and advocacy to the Organic Recycling Industry. If you want to associate with the best in the industry you belong with WORC.

 Join or Renew Your Membership Now

Get Involved

Volunteers are the heart of WORC!  You have great ideas to share. Participate in the work that steers the industry! By serving on a committee or task force, you will help guide WORC's future.
View WORC's Committees

Submit an Article

Submit an article, written or found, for the next newsletter to the  WORC Office.
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PSA FSMA Produce Safety Rule

February 25, 2017

School of Food Science
Food Science Human Nutrition Building
Room: 103/155
Pullman, WA 99164

To register online please visit our website:

Registration Fee: $275

Maximum Seats Available: 15
Lunch, refreshments, and course materials will be provided.


The lead instructor will be presenting the latest information from the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

The Produce Safety Rule is part of the FDA FSMA that was passed by President Obama on January 4, 2011. This regulation focuses on setting the first-ever federal regulatory standards for the production, harvest, and handling of fruits and vegetables, in an effort to prevent microbial contamination and reduce foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce. The Produce Safety Rule was made available publicly on November 13, 2015 and was published in the Federal Register on November 27, 2015.

What does the FSMA Produce Safety Rule cover?

The Produce Safety Rule, outlined in Section 105 of FSMA, establishes science-based minimum standards for safe production and harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables. These standards are based on a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). The rule is divided into several parts, including standards for:

·        Worker health, hygiene, and training

·        Agricultural water, both for production and post-harvest uses

·        Biological soil amendments (e.g., compost, manure)

·        Domesticated and wild animals

·        Equipment, tools, buildings, and sanitation

Lead Instructor: Dr. Connie Fisk, Extension, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, [ ]  
Presenter:  Dr. Barbara Rasco, School of Food Science, Washington State University/University of Idaho,

Please contact Cathy Blood,, for registration questions.