It turns out that I attended the birth of the Composting & Organics Association of Missouri today (at least I think that is the name we decided upon). COAM??? Our company had been invited to meet up with other people in the composting industry at the Lake of the Ozarks today. As Jim is off on his Epic Adventure 2010, tag...I was it. I left St. Louis at 6:10 this morning as I was concerned about the construction on I-44. As it turns out, traffic ran smoothly and I arrived at Tan-tar-a in plenty of time for the 10:00 start of the program. I used to travel to this resort once or twice a year when I worked at MOMEDICO. It was a popular meeting place for doctors and office managers. I didn't like the resort then, and I don't like the resort now. But that is neither here nor there.
Around 25 people attended the meeting from all across the state, with the exceptions of Northeastern and Northwestern Missouri. Perhaps compost doesn't happen in those two areas of the state. It was fascinating to here about the different composting operations. From pig poop to hot dog casings, it's being composted in this state. All I could think was "So many stories. Wouldn't this make a great book?" Oops...time to replace my author's hat with my composting hat.
The main reason for the meeting was to discuss the landfill owners 11th hour attempt to get the ban on yard waste repealed during the last legislative sessions. They tacked a multi-page amendment onto a non-related DNR bill at the last moment. Their rationale is that they need the yard waste in order to make methane gas which they want to capture and offer as an alternative fuel. But the real motivation is that their tipping fees are down since they no longer get yard waste. A local composting company hired a lobbyist and they were successful in getting the whole bill squashed. But the landfill operators are not going to go away, and will most likely come back with a new bill in the next session.
The thought is that if all the organic companies in the state bond together we can present the legislature first of all with a united front, and second of all can provide statistics indicating the benefits of the composting industry to the state in terms of employment numbers, taxes paid, etc. Our lobbyist can beat up your lobbyist...
As a group we decided to form an organization and we all need to look around and see who else should be involved. We will reconvene the end of September and see where we go from here. I just hope we meet in Jefferson City or Columbia next time.