Shiva Ahrens

Shiva Ahrens

Shiva Ahrens

Speaker | Florida Crystals

Shiva Ahrens is a Principal Research Scientist at Florida Crystals. She completed her PhD in Soil Biogeochemistry in Indiana University and joined Florida Crystals’ Research & Development Department as the Crop Nutritionist in 2017. Shiva began her involvement in the compost industry by managing a large-scale compost project at Florida Crystals using sugarcane harvesting and milling byproducts as the feedstock, producing about 100,000 tons of compost per year. Shive became a Certified Compost Operations Manager (CCOM) in 2021. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College teaching Earth and Environmental classes.

Session Code: 5A

Track: Operations

Session Name: Circular Economy

Session Time: Thursday, Feb 8, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Presentation Title: Upcycling Sugarcane By-products with Compost Production to Enhance Regenerative Agricultural Practices

Presentation Description: Sugarcane is the most widely produced agricultural crop globally in terms of biomass. This high biomass crop produces significant amounts of valuable by-products during the harvesting and milling processes, making it an ideal feedstock for composting.

As a part of our commitment to sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices, Florida Crystals has established a large agricultural composting facility. All feedstock used in the composting process is derived from the sugarcane grown on our farms, and the produced compost is then applied back to our farms replacing some of the purchased fertilizer.

The design of our agricultural compost facility includes conveying systems that deliver nearly all the feedstock directly to the compost site without the use of trucks. This approach significantly reduces the carbon footprint linked to feedstock transportation associated with many other compost facilities, thereby contributing to the overall sustainability of our operations. The application of compost derived from upcycling sugarcane by-products not only benefits our crop production and soil health, but it also contributes to the circular economy by closing the nutrient loop within our regenerative farming system. By adopting such sustainable practices, Florida Crystals demonstrates its commitment to responsible farming and stewardship of the land.