It may seem like an unlikely combination but combining dairy cow manure with waste from shellfish produces shell-flecked composted manure that sells for $20 a yard.

Maine dairy producer Eddie Benson was approached by the Department of Environmental Protection about using the waste from processing shellfish – clams, scallops and others -- with the manure he was composting. The shellfish waste is high in nitrogen, calcium and lime.

The result is a much better way to handle the waste. And it helps create a unique compost blend for consumers.

In the past, shellfish waste was dumped in the ocean. However, the decaying material robbed oxygen from fish living in the area where the waste was dumped. The DEP then tried dumping the shellfish waste on willing farmers’ land. However, that resulted in rotting fish piles.

That’s when the DEP contacted Benson about giving it a try with his compost. The result has been a win-win. Benson is even considering building a bagging facility to bag the compost. Doing so would open the door to even more markets for the product.

Portland Press Herald