Vermiculture Declared “Official” in Oregon

Thanks to sustainablog reader Paco Nathan for pointing me to this article from OregonLive.com on the passage and signing of a bill in Oregon to make vermiculture (worm farming) an official form of agriculture.

It sounds symbolic on paper, but the bill extends to [worm farmer Dan] Holcombe and his peers many of the same rights and opportunities as their dairy- and vegetable-producing counterparts. Worms will, for instance, join fruit, fish and livestock on the state’s list of tax-exempt farm products when the legislation becomes law in January.

For Holcombe, a father of three who has spent most of his life as a farmer, the measure offers recognition from the state and the chance to focus more on his worms. His 17-year-old business, Oregon Soil Corp., has accepted waste from local grocery stores and other outlets for years — but few companies have latched on to using worms as a sort of composting. Holcombe hopes the bill will change that.

“Most people, when they think about worms, think, ‘Yucky,’ ” Holcombe says, elbows propped on his 80-by-8-foot worm tank. “They don’t think about what worms can do.”

As a hobby vermiculturalist, I’ve heard “Yucky” plenty myself, but this article provides a thorough overview of worm composting and its benefits. From personal experience, I can say that my plants, indoor and outdoor, love worm castings and compost tea.

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