Tera Lewandowski

Tera Lewandowski

Tera Lewandowski

Speaker | Scotts Miracle Gro

Marysville, OH | tera.lewandowski@scotts.com

I am a Sr. Scientist for Scotts Miracle Gro where I have worked for 7 years in growing media product development. My focus areas include compost, regional organic materials, biochar, and microbial inoculants. Currently, I am also a Trustee for the US Composting Council Compost Research and Education Foundation, the chair of the Standards and Practices Committee, and chair of the Persistent Herbicides subcommittee. My education includes a MS in Conservation Biology from SUNY ESF, and a PhD in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Session Code: 5E

Track: Uses, Markets and Marketing

Session Name: Building Specifications & Product Knowledge

Session Time: Wednesday, January 26, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Presentation Title: Modifications to Meet Specifications: Using STA Data to Inform Compost Marketing Strategies

Presentation Description: The USCC Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) program is a compost testing, labeling and information disclosure program designed to give end users confidence in the product they are purchasing, and information on how to use it correctly. Compost manufacturers can also use this information when marketing their products for different end use specifications. But, what steps can a manufacturer take if a compost is not meeting specifications for a desired market? Are there feedstock or processing changes that a composter can make to create a product more in line with a desired specification? Alternatively, are there other markets that might be better suited for different types of composts?

In this presentation, we are going to discuss results from an analysis of chemical, physical, and biological data from 7700 STA compost samples collected between 2013 – 2019. We will start with an overview of the data looking at general trends and relationships between variables. We will provide insights on how these composts compare to common use specifications (USCC and state/federal) and make recommendations on some simple modifications that can be made in the feedstock selection and manufacturing process that may open the door to other specifications. The desired outcome is that compost manufacturers and marketers walk away with an understanding of how their products fit within the current STA compost marketplace, and learn front-end processing, or back end positioning modifications that could be made to create new marketing opportunities.