organics management

May 20, 2024


This blog summarizes USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Code 336, which addresses Soil Carbon Amendments as a Conservation Practice Standard, part of the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides monetary incentives to improve, among other things, soil quality. Soil carbon amendments include compost, biochar, and other carbon-based materials.

The program is potentially beneficial to compost and biochar facilities (public or private) as the USDA payments include an amount for purchasing finished compost or biochar, which would provide revenue to the facility owner. The payment schedules vary by state. For example, Delaware’s material purchase rates are $26.10 per CY for compost and $201.87 per CY for biochar.


Short History of the Amendments

Introduced in December 2019, Code 808 is an interim standard with the purposes of:

  1. Maintain, increase, or improve soil organic matter quantity and quality
  2. Maintain or improve soil aggregate stability
  3. Maintain or improve habitat for soil organisms
  4. Improve plant productivity and health
  5. Improve the efficient use of irrigation water

It lists suitable criteria for applicable amendments and guidance for planning a carbon soil amendment. Twenty-nine states adopted code 808.

Code 336 was introduced in November 2022 as the final standard for soil carbon amendments, with minor changes from Code 808. Its purposes are to:

  1. Improve or maintain soil organic matter.
  2. Sequester carbon and enhance soil carbon (C) stocks.
  3. Improve soil aggregate stability.
  4. Improve habitat for soil organisms.

The main changes that Code 336 implements are quality standards for evaluating soil for amendment and the carbon amendments that need application to the soil.


Eligible Areas

Areas to which this practice applies, if organic carbon amendments will improve soil conditions:

  1. Crop
  2. Pasture
  3. Range
  4. Forest
  5. Associated Agriculture Lands
  6. Developed Land
  7. Farmstead

Landowners or operators are responsible for planning, designing, and implementing carbon amendment applications, including acquiring all permits or approvals. The application and approval process varies by state and may be subject to local regulations.


Soil Criteria

Per Code 336, before carbon amendment application, evaluate all soil for:

  1. Soil pH
  2. Soil texture
  3. Soil organic matter or soil organic carbon
  4. Extractable phosphorous, potassium, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium
  5. Cation exchange capacity


When conservation objectives are required, evaluate the soil for:

  1. Aluminum, sodium, and soluble salts (electrical conductivity)
  2. Bulk density
  3. Aggregate stability
  4. Available water capacity
  5. Iron, manganese, copper, zinc


Soil Carbon Amendments Criteria

Code 808 Compost Requirements:

  1. Carbon to Nitrogen ratio between 15:1 and 30:1 (target 20:1)
  2. 40-60% moisture (60-40% solids)
  3. Analysis of carbon and nitrogen content, phosphorus, potassium, pH, soluble salts (electroconductivity), organic matter, and bulk density


Code 336 Compost Requirements:

  1. Document the origin of the compost
  2. Report and meet conditions for All Carbon Amendments in Table 1
  3. Report and meet conditions for Compost Amendments in Table 2


Code 336 Biochar Requirements:

  1. Document the origin and production method
  2. Report and meet conditions for All Carbon Amendments in Table 1
  3. Report and meet conditions for Biochar Amendments in Table 3


Produced compost should be by controlled aerobic, biological decomposition of biodegradable feedstocks and should have the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program (STA) or meet the Table 2 criteria.

Compost can be combined with other regionally appropriate soil carbon amendments, such as biochar, wood chips, sawdust, or pulverized paper, to meet the soil’s specific needs. Identify contaminants by testing any soil amendments. Remove contaminants such as glass, metal fragments, film plastic, hard plastic, and sharps before submitting the compost application.

Produce biochar by heating biomass to a temperature above 350 °C under controlled and limited oxygen concentrations to prevent combustion (i.e., pyrolysis or gasification). It should have the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) Certified biochar seal or meet the criteria in Table 3.


Payment Rate Tables (CT, DE, and FL Examples)

Delaware Soil Carbon Amendment (Code 336) EQIP Payments
Component Unit Unit Cost
100% Biochar Ac $780.55
HU-100% Biochar Ac $936.66
20% Biochar/80% Compost Ac $492.40
HU-20% Biochar/80% Compost Ac $590.87
40% Biochar/60% Compost Ac $570.46
HU-40% Biochar/60% Compost Ac $684.51
60% Biochar/40% Compost Ac $648.51
HU-60% Biochar/40% Compost Ac $778.22
80% Biochar/20% Compost Ac $726.57
HU-80% Biochar/20% Compost Ac $871.89
Compost – Off Site Ac $219.05
HU-Compost – Off Site Ac $262.86
Compost – On Site Ac $105.59
HU-Compost – On Site Ac $126.71
Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $40.48
HU-Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $48.57
Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $48.68
HU-Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $58.42
Other Carbon Amendment Ac $840.51
HU-Other Carbon Amendment Ac $1,008.62

HU = “Historically Underserved” Farmers and Ranchers

Florida Soil Carbon Amendment (Code 336) EQIP Payments
Component Unit Unit Cost
100% Biochar Ac $761.21
HU-100% Biochar Ac $913.45
20% Biochar-80% Compost Ac $473.51
HU-20% Biochar-80% Compost Ac $568.21
40% Biochar-60% Compost Ac $551.57
HU-40% Biochar-60% Compost Ac $661.88
60% Biochar-40% Compost Ac $629.63
HU-60% Biochar-40% Compost Ac $755.56
80% Biochar-20% Compost Ac $707.69
HU-80% Biochar-20% Compost Ac $849.23
Compost – Off Site Ac $201.96
HU-Compost – Off Site Ac $242.36
Compost – On Site Ac $90.26
HU-Compost – On Site Ac $108.31
Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $38.79
HU-Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $46.55
Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $47.00
HU-Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $56.40
Other Carbon Amendment Ac $716.59
HU-Other Carbon Amendment Ac $859.91


Connecticut Soil Carbon Amendment (Code 336) EQIP Payments
Component Unit Unit Cost
100% Biochar Ac $772.23
HU-100% Biochar Ac $926.68
100% Biochar cu. yd. CuYd $213.69
HU-100% Biochar cu. yd. CuYd $256.43
20% Biochar-80% Compost by Volume CuYd $108.23
HU-20% Biochar-80% Compost by Volume CuYd $129.88
20% Biochar-80% Compost Ac $480.67
HU-20% Biochar-80% Compost Ac $576.80
40% Biochar-60% Compost by Volume CuYd $134.60
HU-40% Biochar-60% Compost by Volume CuYd $161.52
40% Biochar-60% Compost Ac $558.73
HU-40% Biochar-60% Compost Ac $670.47
60% Biochar-40% Compost by Volume CuYd $160.96
HU-60% Biochar-40% Compost by Volume CuYd $193.15
60% Biochar-40% Compost Ac $636.79
HU-60% Biochar-40% Compost Ac $764.14
80% Biochar-20% Compost by Volume CuYd $187.33
HU-80% Biochar-20% Compost by Volume CuYd $224.79
80% Biochar-20% Compost Ac $714.85
HU-80% Biochar-20% Compost Ac $857.81
Compost – Off Site Ac $210.23
HU-Compost – Off Site Ac $252.27
Compost – On Site Ac $91.33
HU-Compost – On Site Ac $109.59
Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $43.62
HU-Compost – Small Areas kSqFt $52.34
Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $51.82
HU-Compost + Biochar – Small Areas kSqFt $62.19
Compost Off-site by Volume CuYd $72.32
HU- Compost Off-site by Volume CuYd $86.79
HU-Other Carbon Amendment Ac $730.39
Other Carbon Amendment Ac $876.47

Find additional state payment tables at


Code 336 Implementation

Not all state offices have adopted NRCS Code 336, but the figure below by the US Biochar Initiative shows adoption at the close of 2023. (

Discussion of the state-by-state adoption of NRCS Code 336 is in the BioCycle article States Should Adopt NRCS Soil Conservation Standard Code.

Code 336 pricing for compost appears to provide reasonable funding to offset material purchase, transport, application, and technical services. However, Code 336 pricing for biochar does not provide enough funds to subsidize the purchase of biochar in most markets fully. Further, additional costs remain for biochar transport, application, or technical services.


Table 1. Soil requirements under NRCS Code 336 (2022).

Table 2. Compost requirements under NRCS Code 336 (2022).

Table 3. Parameters for Biochar Amendments

Parameter Range Unit
Total Ash Report % of total mass, dry basis
Liming equivalent Report % CaCO3
Organic Carbon (Corg) >10 % DW
H:Corg <0.7 Molar ratio
Chromium <1200 mg per kg DW



Additional Resources:







Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 5, 2024

The 10th annual NYS Organics Summit is happening at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center in Buffalo, NY. This year’s event will be hybrid, offering in-person and virtual access. The NYS Organics Summit is an opportunity to connect with more than 200 materials management professionals to share success stories, learn about emerging issues, develop networks and partnerships, and discuss creative solutions to help advance sustainable organics management across New York State. The event’s program includes presentations, panel discussions, networking, and workshops. A student poster showcase will be hosted on Wednesday, April 17th and separate tickets are available for those interested in touring the NOCO Forestry’s Buffalo River Compost Facility and Generate Upcycle’s anaerobic digester.

The event is open to NYSAR3 members and non-members, with special pricing for students. Register today!


Posted by Brianna Morgan at 9:33 am

December 15, 2023

Speak with SCS Engineers solid waste experts and SCS Engineers field services professionals at Waste Expo, May 6-9, in the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Come visit us at BOOTH 2907.

Tom Rappolt, SCS Engineers

SCS Engineers expert, Tom Rappolt, will lead a compelling session titled “Private Equity, Friend or Foe? Battling Odor Class Action Lawsuits. Delve into the intricate dynamics of private equity involvement in waste management and the legal complexities surrounding odor-related class action lawsuits.

Session Name: Private Equity, Friend or Foe? Battling Odor Class Action Lawsuits

Session Date and Time: Tuesday, May 7, 2024 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Presenter and Panelist: Tom Rappolt 

Pat Sullivan, SCS Engineers

Unveiling the Soil Revolution: Navigating Permitting Challenges, Embracing Technologies, and Integrating AD in Composting. Join SCS Engineers, expert Pat Sullivan as he explores the forefront of composting innovation and the intricacies of regulatory hurdles.

Session Name: Composting: Permitting Challenges, Technologies, Integrating AD

Session Date and Time: Monday, May 06, 2024, 1:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Session Location: Room: W222-223

Presenter and Panelist: Pat Sullivan

Jeff Phillips, SCS Engineers

Dive into the realm of organic waste management with Jeff Phillips from SCS Engineers as he sheds light on ‘Stakeholder Strategic Planning for Organics Management in Iowa.’

Session Name: Stakeholder Strategic Planning for Organics Management in Iowa

Session Date and Time: Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Session Location: Track 2, Room: W223, 8:00 – 9:30 am

Presenter and Panelist: Jeff Phillips

At Waste Expo, you can connect with 13,000 of your peers and over 600 exhibitors. This is one event that pays dividends all year long. Preview the latest vehicles, tune in to the latest technology, and learn the latest curriculum to improve the environment.  For over 50 years, WasteExpo has provided an outstanding event experience in the solid waste, recycling and organics industry.

Numerous summits will be co-located with Waste Expo, including the Food Recovery Forum & Organics Recycling program, where you can interact with SCS Engineers Organics Management and Food Recovery experts.  You can also speak to our experts at Sustainability Talks and several other exciting programs.

Click here for more conference details and registration information.

We hope to see you there!



Posted by Laura Dorn at 11:44 am

November 9, 2023

This informative day will include keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking, a catered lunch, and exhibitors. Attendees will benefit from a variety of themed breakout sessions providing education on composting related to the basics, home, farm, municipal, schools, and medium to large scale operations. The event will highlight how composting can benefit local communities, businesses, the environment, and improve climate resiliency.

SCS experts plan to attend – come find us and talk about  your composting needs!

Click for more conference details and registration information



Posted by Laura Dorn at 4:38 pm

September 25, 2023

The Tennessee Composting Council is hosting its 1st Annual Composting Conference at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in lovely Nashville, TN, on November 8, 2023.

The agenda will feature key presentations on the state of composting in Tennessee. Network with industry members and learn how you can affect change in your community through composting initiatives.

Brian Gant
Brian Gant
Gregory McCarron
Greg McCarron

SCS’s National Expert of Organics Management Greg McCarron, PE, CCP™, and SCS Expert Brian Gant are attending. Stop by and say hello during this inaugural event.

Don’t miss Composting Facility Design, Equipment, Permitting, and Other Operational Considerations at 11-12 p.m. with Gregory McCarron, VP of SCS Engineers.

Register today!



Posted by Laura Dorn at 5:52 pm

May 15, 2023

Meet SCS Engineers professionals at the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP) 33rd Annual Recycling & Organics Conference, July 19 – 21, at the Wyndham Gettysburg.

Hear the latest recycling market news, attend sessions to build your knowledge on educating the public, find solutions to challenges, and network with colleagues.  Conference Attendees and Exhibitors will enjoy the networking, sessions, plenaries, and certification classes. Pre-conference Certification classes will be held on Tuesday, July 18th.

SCS Project Manager, Brent Dieleman and SCS professional Josh Krumski are planning to attend and will be available to answer your recycling and organics management questions.  The Pennsylvania DEP will provide an update on the availability of funds for the recycling technical assistance program that SCS is managing and operating on behalf of the Department.

Find more info and registration details here




Posted by Laura Dorn at 12:24 pm

December 6, 2022

SCS Engineers


PFAS Legislation


PFAS compounds have been used for decades in everyday materials, such as cookware, cosmetics, packaging, outdoor clothing, and firefighting materials. Since they are widely used and the products disposed of, the compounds now exist throughout our environment and have the potential to contaminate composting material.

Legislation and regulations aimed at curbing PFAS are well-intentioned but put the responsibility on waste management and operations such as composting that reuse material to avoid disposing of valuable organic resources in landfills and incinerators. Why not place the responsibility with the sources of PFAS instead?

The diversion of food waste and biosolids from US landfills to composting avoids approximately 2.7 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions from the atmosphere annually. Organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) all recognize the importance of composting with benefits above and beyond lowering carbon footprints.

The US Composting Council is posting helpful information for communities with composting operations or considering composting on its website. The Council recently called for bans on products containing synthetic chemical compounds known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) (perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS).

Take action here!


Learn more about how composting benefits communities.



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

November 20, 2022

Federal recycling and compsoting grantsEPA has opened applications for Federal recycling and composting grants. These grant programs are SWANA-supported and may assist in funding education and infrastructure. The EPA program is divided into two areas providing states, municipalities, and other entities the opportunity to apply for millions of dollars in funds. The Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling (SWIFR) and Education and Outreach Grant Programs were established by the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

EPA will be accepting applications for both programs through January 16, 2023.

The SWIFR Grant Program provides $275 million over five years for states, municipalities, and tribes to:

  • Improve post-consumer materials management and infrastructure;
  • Support improvements to local post-consumer materials management and recycling programs; and
  • Assist local waste management authorities in making improvements to local waste management systems.

The Recycling Education and Outreach Grant Program provides $75 million over five years to states, municipalities, tribes, non-profit organizations, and public-private partnerships to:

  • Inform the public about residential or community waste prevention or recycling programs;
  • Provide information about the recycled materials that are accepted; and
  • Increase collection rates and decrease contamination across the nation.

Nena Shaw, EPA Acting Director for the Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division, will speak about the grant programs and related EPA waste-related initiatives during her keynote presentation at WASTECON 2022 on Thursday, December 8, in San Diego, California.

Note that $100 million of this funding is available to help build and transform solid waste infrastructure, manage materials to achieve a circular economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create cleaner, resilient, and healthier communities through composting and organics management programs.


Register here for the EPA webinars to learn about the Federal Recycling and Composting Grants!


Please contact your SCS program manager or one of our national experts to learn more or get support with your application. We’re always here to help.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

November 4, 2022

Biosolids Composting
L to R – Ron Wiesman of Hillsborough County Solid Waste, Kollan Spradlin and Trent Arney of SCS Engineers.


Biosolids Composting – Award Winning Facility in Hillsborough County – Environmental Category

The Planning Commission celebrated its 40th Annual Planning & Design Awards at a ceremony in late October. The event is in conjunction with a nationwide celebration of the American Planning Association’s National Community Planning Month.

The County Planning Commission recognized a joint effort between the County Board of County Commissioners, the Solid Waste Management Department, the County Water Resources Department, and SCS Engineers with its 2022 Excellence Award.

Hillsborough County combines tons of mulched yard cuttings and biosolids (treated wastewater residue) to create an in-demand soil amendment. Mixing, curing, and selling the product preserves disposal space at the Southeast Hillsborough County Landfill, saving taxpayers about $1.5 million in hauling, disposal, and other costs over five years. Selling the resulting soil supplement, meanwhile, adds new revenue.

Yard waste was traditionally burned to produce electricity or mixed with cover at the landfill. Treated wastewater by-products, known as biosolids, were trucked to the landfill for disposal, thus filling the landfill faster and, when combined with other organic matter creating greenhouse gases.

The plan to produce and sell compost results from a partnership between the County operations and SCS Engineers committed to finding a more efficient and environmentally friendly solution to reuse the two types of waste. The product meets stringent federal guidelines and regulations, providing a nutrient-rich material that safeguards consumers, crop production, and the environment.


Biosolids Composting
The windrow compost turner in action mixing oxygen and moisture into the compost, and cooling it to promote the best conditions for microorganisms to do their work creating high-quality compost.


Thanks to everyone who joined the celebration showcasing excellence in planning and design that contributes to the quality of life in Hillsborough County. If you’d like to learn more about this biosolids composting facility, please contact Kollan Spradlin or .


Communities across our nation are going greener, we suggest these educational resources:




Posted by Diane Samuels at 11:05 am

October 13, 2022

SCS Engineers Environmental Consulting and Contracting

NJ Organics Summit: Addressing a Changing Climate


Organics processors, composters, haulers, regulators, academics, organics waste management professionals, sustainable community organizations, and nonprofits will join the conversation about New Jersey’s organics management practices. The Summit will feature experienced industry professionals, academics and regulators on topics of:

  • State and city food waste initiatives and climate change programs
  • The role and how to work with compostable packaging
  • Compost facility management (economics, PFAS, new techniques)
  • Funding and operating climate friendly organics business

SCS Project Director Greg McCarron is speaking at the Funding and Operating Climate Friendly Organics Businesses Panel 4 (4:00 – 5:00 pm). Be sure to visit the exhibitors and learn about some great organics recycling businesses in New Jersey!

Greg McCarron, Vice President, SCS Engineers




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am