Since its inception in 2001, FORCE has filled the need for environmentally sound, economically feasible methods, and practical and applicable solutions for recycling and utilizing organics and agricultural wastes. FORCE activities during 2010 and 2011 included two research and demonstration projects to explore the feasibility of composting different blends of organic feedstocks to include animal manure, yard and food waste, including meats.


The purpose of this project was to demonstrate proper design and operational procedures for on-farm composting. The specific focus was (a) use of off-farm vegetative waste to optimize composting of yard trash or manure generated on the farm, or (b) use of off-farm yard trash as part of manure management operations regulated under Chapter 62-670. F.A.C.
This project served both research and demonstration objectives. Materials handling and composting activities were closely monitored and data regarding operational procedures, best practices, feedstock and compost quality, and economics was gathered. The information obtained and the operation itself demonstrated and helped to promote efficient and environmentally-sound on-farm composting.




The purpose of this project is to establish a composting demonstration for source-separated food waste (vegetative waste and animal by-products) from supermarkets. The project will demonstrate proper design and operations and help to promote diversion of this major source of feed waste in Florida. The project is conceived as a demonstration of what can be accomplished under the proposed revisions to Chapter 62-709. F.A.C. that provides a registration process for source-separated pre-consumer food waste composting. Separate compost piles will be constructed using vegetative waste versus animal by-products, incorporating yard trash as the bulking agent.



The purpose of the original Grant Program was to enable FORCE to solicit proposals from private and public sectors to perform relevant demonstrations, research and educational programs. FORCE sent out a Request for Proposal on Organics Research, Education and Marketing & Demonstration Projects. The Following eleven proposals were reviewed and awarded in an effort to further advance composting research, demonstration, education and marketing in Florida. These projects have all been completed.


With the partnership of FDOT, Sumter County and the Florida Organics Recycling Center for Excellence (FORCE), Seminole County, and Consolidated Resource Recovery a public demonstration event was arranged by Kessler Consulting, Inc. to test and evaluate yard waste processing and composting equipment that effectively separates plastic bags from compost and yard waste. The demonstration event was held on January 25th, 2007 at the Seminole County Yard Waste Processing Facility. All Public and private sector yard waste processing and composting industry personnel within the state of Florida were invited to attend the demonstration. Two very different pieces of equipment were featured:
1. Komptech- Multistar – L3, Star Screen with Air Classifier
2. Airlift Separator – AL 200D Diesel



The Sumter County Extension Service will conduct a series of field trials at the Sumter County Youth Center on a pre-selected small-scale composting vessel. Compostable organic materials will be collected by local volunteer groups and will serve as the feedstock for the compost unit field test. Testing will take place to determine the effectiveness of a composting unit known as the Earth Tub composting vessel. Testing and data collection will include: Type and Quantity of Feedstock, Elapsed Time to Compost Various Feedstock, Weekly Temperature Readings and Compost Analysis by a Private Laboratory.

To create awareness of the program and to provide educational opportunities, a composting informational kiosk will be created to showcase composting techniques and the results of the Earth Tub demonstration. Children and adults will learn about composting while visiting the Sumter County Youth Center and educational publications will be available for home, school, office or business application. A promotional publication will be created to promote composting as well as create interest in the FORCE sponsored composting unit field trial.



This project will address research and demonstration on fast-growing forest trees response to Sumter County compost, development of guidelines for compost use on these short rotation forest crops, estimation of associated economic and environmental benefits, and dissemination of this information to clientele.

At the end of the project, a guide for the use of compost on forest crops and at least two publications in appropriate journals on forest crop responses to Sumter County compost and on associated economic and environmental benefits will be available.

The need for environmentally sound, economically feasible, practical and applicable solutions for recycling and utilizing organics will be addressed by this projects 1) research on and demonstration of tree response to Sumter County compost, 2) development of guidelines for compost use on forest crops, and 3) estimation for economic and environmental benefits.
The environmental impacts of compost application will be determined by periodic site monitoring and annual tree biomass characterization sufficient to develop annual and cumulative nutrient and water budgets. The educational components of this project will promote the benefits of compost application to farms and forests where these forest crops are competitive with other land uses.




This project will show how food waste can be economically recycled into cattle feed through an onsite mixing/blending process. Food waste will be brought to the farm, avoiding landfill disposal. When food waste is brought to the site, it will be inspected and mixed/blended in the mixer wagon. The wagon will then deliver the product to the feed troughs. The cattle will be fed and weight gain will be evaluated and noted. After satisfactory weight gain, cattle will then be delivered to a meat packer such as Central Packing in Sumterville, FL for evaluation of carcass quality and yield.

The industry impact will be twofold: 1) the economic benefit realized by the ranchers with an alternative feed source and 2) the private sector processors with a new disposal method for their waste products.



Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) has completed the report as a part of our scope of work for a research project in Year 6. The research was performed on existing data and documentation for herbicides, pesticides and heavy metals in yard waste compost and mulch. KCI believes that, taken as a whole, the results of these three studies demonstrate there should be very little concern from a regulatory perspective regarding chemical contaminants in yard trash products. The work was intended to assist the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) evaluate whether or not products derived from yard trash (e.g. mulch and compost) should be regulated with regard to pesticides and trace elements. Additionally, KCI will follow up this report with a yard/food waste demonstration project at the Sumter County solid waste, recycling and composting facility (SWRCF) in Year 7.



The goal of the Food Waste and Yard Trash Composting Research and Demonstration Project was to encourage composting of food scraps and yard debris in Florida by documenting sound operational practices, evaluating costs and benefits, and assessing potential environmental impacts. Post-consumer food scraps and yard debris were composted at the Reedy Creek composting facility using simple, low-technology composting methods, such as outdoor, un-aerated windrows turned with a front-end loader. The project evaluated two different mix ratios (4:1 versus 3:1, yard debris-to-food scraps) and two different turning methods (standard turning to meet FDEP disinfection standards versus minimal turning).
Demonstration results concluded that adding food scraps to yard debris significantly enhances and accelerates the composting process. The project produced mature, high-quality compost in approximately four months. By comparison, producing such a product from yard debris alone in Florida can take as much as a year or more. Both composting methods met the FDEP pathogen reduction standard of less than 1,000 most probable number per gram (MPN/g) of fecal coliform, and finished compost met FDEP Class A classification standards for unrestricted distribution and use.

The cost-benefit assessment demonstrated that an existing yard debris facility can incorporate food scrap composting and cover the additional costs incurred. Two sources of revenue, tipping fees for incoming food scraps and sales of finished compost, will sufficiently cover costs, and even produce net revenue. The project also identified many guidelines that facilities should incorporate when composting food scraps and yard debris, in order to ensure environmentally-sound and cost effective operations, as well as high-quality product. Some of the guidelines developed included, feedstock selection, receiving and mixing, active composting and curing and post-processing.

The FDEP is in the process of revising the Chapter 62-709 composting rules to enable registration facilities to handle certain types of source-separated food scraps, in addition to yard debris – a common regulatory practice in many other states. The key is to ensure that such facilities are comparable to yard debris facilities currently operating under Florida’s facility registration process, with regard to environment and public health impact. Hopefully, the results of this project will assist FDEP in its efforts to promote a streamlined regulatory process for facilities that meet certain standards when composting yard debris and source-separated organics.



The goal of this project is to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of new odor control product and process to combat the odors associated with MSW and bio solids, which has distinct advantages for the composting and waste collection industries. Two areas in Sumter County with known intermittent odor problems will be treated, the MSW tipping floor, and the bio solids tipping area.

The purpose of the treatment in the first area is to diminish odor to unnoticeable levels in any location around the MSW tipping building and minimize odor within the building. In the bio solids tipping area, the purpose of the treatment is to diminish odor to unnoticeable levels in any location around the area and minimize odor under the covered area. The product demonstration period and ongoing treatment will show that odor from garbage tipping floors and sludge or bio solids tipping and storage areas can be efficiently and effectively minimized.



Speakers from the industry and research entities will teach participants the principals of compost production and use: composting principles and biology, compost site safety, compost quality and testing, compost feedstock, composting rules and regulations, record keeping and compost utilization on specific crops. Then, during “hands-on” sessions, participants will apply the concepts they have learned by mixing feedstocks, sampling compost, and using field tests for compost quality.

The training will consist of three one-day training workshops at locations in South, Central and North Florida. One of the reasons for holding several programs is to allow participants to observe how compost is being made and used in their area. The participants will be viewing and interpreting laboratory results and bioassays as well as learning how to take the samples and set up the bioassays in their own operations.

All participants will receive a CD with copies of publications about compost, a list of resources for compost testing and equipment, a list of participants and ac copy of, “The On-Farm Compost Handbook.”



The City of Tallahassee funded FORCE project will demonstrate landscape design, construction and maintenance practices that minimize water consumption as well as enhance markets for organic mulches and local vegetation at the Solid Waste Services’ Administrative Office Building. The organics and water conservation components will be incorporated as part of a green building project that seeks to obtain Silver certification through the US Green Building Council’s LEED Program.



Ground and surface water are Florida’s most vital resources, supplying most ecosystems and providing drinking water for 90% of the state’s population. Since the state’s geology makes water supplies vulnerable to excessive use and contamination, its protection is critical. Toward this end, Sumter County completed a water efficient landscape demonstration and learning center at the newly constructed West Central Florida Agriculture Education, Marketing and Development Center (WCFAEMDC).



The project will be conducted at a sod farm located in Webster, Florida. The site is approximately ten miles from the Sumter County landfill. Plastic woven ground cover will be laid over four acres of land in quarter acre sections. A low volume irrigation system will be installed to deliver a minimum of one tenth of an inch of water per hour. Irrigation schedules will be monitored and recorded. Plant beds will be constructed of framed plastic pipe laid on top of the ground cover. Various diameters will be used to determine optimum growing depth. A practical approach to bed width and length, to accommodate production and harvesting equipment, will be used.

St. Augustine, Bermuda and Bahia grass varieties will be planted at various sprig/seed rates to determine the highest economic return. Soil and leaf tissue test will be conducted throughout the growing season. Fertilizer will be applied according to lab results. During the growing season, different types of equipment will be tried or designed to fit this production system.

In this project, acreage needs could be reduced by fifty to seventy five percent. Water use would be extremely efficient, due to high crop yields combined with low volume irrigation. Smaller equipment could be used, translating to less fuel being consumed. The use of compost will provide a growing medium that would require less fertilizer and pesticide.
In addition to the many production advantages of this growing system, sod producers would have a market advantage in that turf varieties could be easily changed to accommodate market conditions and demands. This project is aimed at small and medium size sod producers in the State.