Fred Michel

Fred Michel

Fred Michel

Speaker | The Ohio State University

Wooster, OH |

Fred is a Professor of Biosystems Engineering in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Ohio State University in Wooster. He received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University and bachelors degrees from the University of Colorado in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering. Fred has served as editor of Compost Science and Utilization journal since 2007, is a board member of the Organic Recycling Association of Ohio and serves on the USCC Persistent Herbicide Task Force. He developed and has taught the Ohio Compost Operator Education since 2000 and has published more than fifty papers related to composting and AD, including a chapter of the On Farm Composting handbook. In 2011 he was awarded the Rufus Chaney award for Research Excellence from the USCC. His current research interests include composting microbial ecology and the fate of herbicides and other organic contaminants.

Session Name: Persistent Herbicides in Compost: Identifying the Problem, Exploring Solutions

Session Time: Thursday, January 30, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Presentation Title: Recent Studies on Prevalence and Herbicide Breakdown

Presentation Description: Persistent Herbicides are chemical broadleaf weed killers that are present in some compost feedstocks, degrade slowly and can negatively affect susceptible plants grown with compost containing them. Four  persistent herbicides that have been identified as causing problems in composts are: Clopyralid, Aminopyralid, Aminocyclopyrachlor, and Picloram. The purpose of this session is to bring to light the widespread nature of this problem, and encourage open discussion with USCC members on an often taboo subject.  In this session, panelists will discuss what persistent herbicides are and the vectors through which they get into compost, along with strategies to control these vectors.  We will review testing methods, both in-house and laboratory-based, that can be used to identify the presence of persistent herbicides in finished compost as well as remediation strategies that have been successfully used in the past. The prevalence of these compounds in samples of USCC composts will also be presented. We will examine the implications of persistent herbicides in compost for the organic agriculture market, highlight issues with generic persistent herbicides that may be registered for use in a few years, and implications of this event for the composting industry.  Finally, we will explore potential markets for contaminated compost.  We encourage audience participation.