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Worm composter gains national attention

A federal researcher visited Avon-based Worm Power, RT Solutions LLC, on Thursday to learn about its ongoing collaboration with Cornell University researchers.

The focus of the visit by Roger Beachy, head of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was on a recently completed multi-million dollar expansion to Worm Power’s facility in Livingston County.

He talked with Cornell collaborators from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences about research findings on vermicompost’s role in crop nutrient management and the suppression of plant disease.

Earthworm composting, or vermicomposting, transforms organic wastes into a living soil amendment that provides nutrients to greenhouse and field crops. Worm Power’s facility processes excess manure from a nearby dairy into vermicompost that is sold to growers in New York and across the country. The process adds value to manure, providing an economic incentive to move it from areas where it can be a pollutant to areas where it can serve as a source of plant nutrients. 

Working with material from Worm Power, Cornell researchers have developed potting mix recipes for vegetable transplant production that do not require synthetic nutrients.

Project funders include New York Farm Viability Institute, USDA Small Business Innovation Research and the Cornell Center for Life Science Enterprise.

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