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Grab N' Grow's Clean Manure Challenge


Grab N' Grow's Clean Manure Challenge

By Shelby Harris

Compost production in Sonoma County has been under increasing duress over the last year. Beginning with the closure of Sonoma Compost in late 2015, our county has experienced a massive decrease in locally made material. And now we face another threat looming over the limited production that remains—manures that are tainted with potent herbicides and pesticides, rendering it unusable for compost production. 

The two primary culprits are Clopyralid and Aminopyralid. These are used by farmers to control many broadleaf weeds in feed such as hay, barley, rice, straw and grass that cows, horses and chickens eat or use for bedding. However, when animals are fed contaminated feedstock, their manure cannot be used in compost or soil blends because the herbicides remain behind. These harmful herbicides are not broken down in the digestive system of the animal or compost process and can kill many popular crops such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, carrots, cannabis and more. 

As Sonoma County’s only commercial composting facility open to the public, Grab N’ Grow is deeply committed to keeping our compost production clean and locally sourced. And that’s why we’re launching “The Clean Manure Challenge” - a three county-wide initiative to increase the supply of clean inbound manure products from local ranches to ensure long term production plans of key products, such as our famous Mango Mulch Organic Compost

We are searching for cow, horse and chicken ranches in Marin, Napa and Sonoma County that have herbicide-free manure available. ‘Clean manure’ is a term we use to describe horse, cow and chicken manure that is free from the herbicides Clopyralid and Aminopyralid. Participation in the Clean Manure Challenge is completely voluntary and free of charge.

Our goal is to source 10,000 tons of clean manure from ranchers in the three counties by December 31, 2016. The Clean Manure Challenge will allow us to partner with local ranchers and test for these chemicals in their manure free of charge. It is designed to raise awareness of the issue, educate our customers, and encourage all livestock owners to only feed Aminopyralid and Clopyralid-free products to their animals. 

Operations Director, Tom Shearer, said it best: “Participation in the Clean Manure Challenge will ensure that Grab N’ Grow remains able to provide organic, locally sourced compost products to all in need for years to come.”

If you are a dairy, horse, or chicken rancher in Sonoma, Marin, or Napa county (or know someone who is!), please visit our website at  to learn more about the Clean Manure Challenge. Here you can apply to have your animal’s manure tested for these herbicides at no cost and learn more about the effects of Clopyralid and Aminopyralid on your gardens. 

Not all compost is created equal. Help us keep Sonoma County compost production clean and locally sourced. Join the Challenge!

About Grab N’ Grow: Grab N’ Grow is part of Soiland Company, a local second-generation family-owned business that has operated in Sonoma County since 1962. You can visit us in Santa Rosa at 2759 Llano Rd. or give us a call at (707) 575-7275. If you still need compost, soil, or mulch for this season, please give us a call before coming in to make sure we have what you need in stock. We’re happy to deliver almost anywhere in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties. Please call for delivery times and information.