Water and Soil Quality Composting Design Research Initiative

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $9,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Grant Recipient: ZanBria Artisan Farms LLC
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Heather Gayton
ZanBria Artisan Farms LLC

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: manure management, pasture fertility
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, workshop, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, habitat enhancement, soil stabilization, wetlands
  • Pest Management: mulches - general, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, partnerships, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    This collaborative composting facility research initiative will implement innovative design that protects water quality from run-off and leachate. This project will also improve soils by providing safe, organic matter to support cover crops, fruit and vegetable yields on-site. The current soil contains large amounts of clay which contributes to high run-off and flood concerns. By designing and collecting data from the composting facility, water and soil quality can improve for long-term environmental and economic benefits. This grant will provide a sustainable, covered and high-quality composting facility that can be visited during on-farm tours and community events to educate interested persons in environmentally sustainable and profitable agricultural practices. This educational component to the project will ensure that farmers, ranchers and the community have a model and resource to develop their understanding about best practices in aerobic microbial ecosystems.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Design and build an aerobic microbial ecosystem using conservation practice standards provided by NRCS.
    2. Collect water quality data before, during and after the composting facility is built and in use. 
    3. Complete wetland delineation report around the effectiveness of microbial ecosystems near wetland buffers. 
    4. Collect observational and soil testing data around nutrient density and erosion control using composted manure and organic matter. 
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.