Compost business moving from Valley

After more than 80 years as a dairy and then a composting business, what used to be the Milky Way Farm will become part of Carson Valley history.

Plans are for Full Circle Compost to move to the Carson City site where they've been manufacturing compost for several years, in addition to the composting production at Full Circle Compost in Minden. No date for the move has been made at this time.

"We have to relocate," said Craig Witt. "(Don) Bently purchased the land three years ago and he won't renew the lease. We have to be completely moved out, but we'll be here until we get a new location."

According to Witt, there was a verbal deal about the option to renew their lease at the end of the three years, but that's not what happened.

"That was the old Carson Valley way, that you were taken at your word," he said. "But people have to make money."

"First I heard of it," said Don Bently on Friday. "He has to realize he sold the place."

When asked about future plans for the Full Circle site, Bently said, "I don't care to discuss it. It's nobody's business."

Full Circle Compost is on the site of the farm, started in the 1920s as a dairy, by Witt's grandfather Clarence Godecke Sr.

The Milky Way was a working dairy until 10 years ago. Witt decided he'd have to diversify if he wanted to keep the farm so he created Full Circle Compost.

Witt has gone from composting cow manure on the family farm to composting materials at two correctional centers in Carson City - one with a dairy and one housing 600 wild mustangs.

"We've been making compost at the prison dairy farm for almost three years so we're consolidating to one manufacturing location," he said. "We'll help them manage their manure. Manure is only a small part of the compost recipe."

Witt said a complexity of materials is needed to make compost. Green waste is made up of materials such as lawn clippings, parts of trees, sagebrush, leaves and pine cones.

He uses manure but also such materials as 2-by-4s from construction debris that used to go to the landfill but is mixed with green waste. Then the needs of microbes are met with air, water and food to produce humus.

"There's only one dairy left - Carson Valley isn't creating environmental stewardship," Witt said. "And the general public is starting to recognize the value of environmental stewardship - the role of biological farming and horticulture."

Full Circle Compost received the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada's best small business award May 2. The business was recognized for demonstrating strong community involvement and for work in converting and reducing waste on a large scale in agricultural, forested and urban areas.

Witt's business is a seven-employee operation that recycled 20,000 cubic yards of waste last year.

"We'll continue to do recycling for the residents of Douglas County," he said. "Recycling will also be a little easier for the residents of Carson City."

Witt said they wouldn't have moved if the circumstances were different but has a positive attitude about having one business in Carson City rather in both Carson and Minden.

"We're hoping the new location will still be convenient, if not more convenient," he said. "We'll be expanding what we do. If not myself, I'll get someone here to distribute our compost. We'll make every effort possible to maintain retail and recycling in Carson Valley."

One of the ways the public can participate in recycling is at the Compost Combustibles event is now through July 30.

Full Circle Compost is one of the collection locations where residents can bring natural vegetation to reduce the wildfire hazard, reduce landfill materials and to help make compost.

Full Circle Compost is at 2298 Heybourne Road in Minden. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Contact them at or 782-5305.


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