August 8, 2023 | Composting, Markets, Policies + Regulations, Soil Health

Reimbursing Farmers Who Utilize Compost

Top: Barr-Tech, an eastern Washington composting facility, spreads compost in the fall on dryland wheat. Photo courtesy of J. Scott Deatherage, Barr-Tech

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is launching the Compost Reimbursement Program to encourage on-farm use of commercial compost. The Washington State Legislature established the Compost Reimbursement Program earlier this year when it passed and funded Revised Code of Washington 15.04.420. WSDA has been setting up the infrastructure to process applications and establish the reimbursement program. It anticipates accepting applications beginning in September but producers can sign up now to be notified once the application period opens. Applications will continue to be accepted until the allotted funds are spent each fiscal year, which runs from July through June.

Participants are required to take soil samples before and after application of compost. Photo courtesy of WSDA

Approximately $1 million will be distributed annually on a first-come, first-served basis, according to WSDA. For eligible farms, the program will pay up to 50% of the cost to obtain, transport, and spread compost, not to exceed $10,000 per farm per year. All commercial Washington farmers — including those in agriculture, silviculture and aquaculture — are eligible for the program. Participants must agree to conduct soil sampling before and for several years following the compost application. Additionally, the compost must be purchased from a business with a solid waste handling permit.

Producers must first apply to and be approved for the program, ensuring that their business and compost source are eligible. Once approved, program participants must sign a grant agreement contract and conduct pre-application soil sampling before applying the compost. After expenses are incurred, applicants will submit a reimbursement application for their total expenses. The expenses are then calculated, and the applicant is reimbursed. Learn more about the Compost Reimbursement Program on WSDA’s website or email

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