Celebrating Farming for Over 150 Years

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A Michigan Sesquicentennial Farm

 
 
Thomas and Anna Tuthill settled here in Green Oak Township of Livingston County Michigan in 1833.  Thomas was known as a farmer,  making a specialty of raising and selling Durham cattle and good horses.  The Centennial Farm designation uses the date of 1863 when records show Tuthills farming as a business.
Our 195 acre farm has raised, trained and boarded horses, produced crops, dairy products, hogs, goats, poultry and beef.  In recent years, our farm has become surrounded by rapid development in Livingston County.  We are less than 10 minutes from a mall and Costco.  Our location is an asset that has allowed our farm to diversify throughout the years.  We are blessed to have the 7th generation of Tuthills currently living and working on the farm.  We hope that our rich farming tradition will continue for years to come.

 

How Did an Old Farm Become the Site of a Compost Operation?

 

As our area of Livingston County experienced rapid development we began to question the future of farming in the midst of such growth. 

The yard waste ban in 1995 posed a problem for some, but an answer for us as we saw an opportunity to make a business of taking these organics and turning them into compost that could be used as a soil amendment for our crops.  We have a good location close to major highways, and the necessary equipment and experience to deal with these materials. 

A compost operation was a good fit for our type of farming practices as well.  For several decades, our crops have mostly been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.  Compost is spread on our fields and on land that we rent to produce hay, corn, wheat, soybeans, and oats.

Our goal is to continue to survive as a farm and carry on the rich traditions of farming.  We also strive to operate in a way that creates no unpleasant odors or eyesores for our neighbors.  For those reasons, we have always prohibited plastic bags and trash from our site.  We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our customers with a pleasant trip to the farm to drop off yard waste to be recycled or to pick up our beautiful farm compost for use in their own gardens.
 

Composting Faciliity

 
 

This aerial photo shows one of the fields we use for composting.  The long rows on the left are mixes of grass, leaves and manure.  Tuthill Farms and Composting, Inc. is a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Certified Compost Facility.  Our site receives an average of 30,000 cubic yards of organics annually.

Yard waste is dropped off at our site by waste haulers, landscapers and homeowners and mixed at a 3:1 ratio of leaves to grass/manure.  Rows are then turned periodically with a large front loader which further mixes, aerates and reduces particle size.  Temperatures are monitored and reach up to 165 degrees F. or more, which kills pathogens and weed seeds. Brush, logs and stumps are also disposed of here and are ground periodically into woodchips or mulch.

Unlike municipalities, we take an average of 2 years to produce our finished farm compost.  Our compost is cured and screened for our use in producing crops and is also available for purchase.  We find that this longer process greatly diminishes odors associated with compost facilities while producing an excellent compost.  

According to the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, more than 240 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated in the United States each year.  Organic waste, including yard trimmings, food scraps, wood waste and paper/paperboard products, make up 2/3 of this solid waste.

   
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