Renewable Farming

Back to basics: How to build active humus to cope with weather extremes

Midwest soils that proved most resilient through 2019’s floods and dry spells were those with ideal structure and humus to quickly absorb torrential rains, then meter that moisture back to roots through dry weeks. 

December 14, 2019 — At this week’s ACRES conference, Edwin Blosser of Midwest Bio-Systems showed farmers how to build such soils on their farms — with scientifically produced compost. We’ve known Edwin, and his passion for aerobically built compost, for more than 30 years. That was in the early days of AgriEnergy Resources, when founder Dave Larson visited Austria to study scientific compost building with methods developed by Siegfred Leubke. He also sponsored Luebke’s presentations at AgriEnergy seminars and workshops in Illinois in the late 1980s.

A detailed description of Blosser’s decades of compost research appears on the Midwest Bio-Systems website at this link.

Here’s a key excerpt from that history: “The search for more answers led Blosser to Siegfred Luebke, an Austrian doctor who had single-handedly identified thousands of enzymes produced by the microorganisms found in healthy soils. Luebke used his knowledge to improve the soils on his farm, and he was reportedly achieving amazing results. Blosser knew he needed to see Luebke’s research firsthand, and so he planned a trip to Europe to visit the Luebke farm [in 1992]. What he saw there forever changed the trajectory of his life.”

Pull-type Aeromaster compost turner at work

Blosser and his family have overcome many struggles to become a leading builder of aerobic composting systems. He has also become an educator on how to make compost which builds high-humus, well-structured soils from waste organic matter available in many neighborhoods.

We recommend that you browse Midwest Bio-System’s entire website to see their compost-making equipment. And his staff offers several educational opportunities to learn the technology and financial aspects of creating active humus from raw organic matter and other ingredients.

At the ACRES conference, as reported by Renewable Farming’s Blake Carlson, Edwin described how farming with intensive chemical and fertilizer use produced “tight” soils instead of flocculated, absorbent soils with rising humus content. This is common around the world, he notes after consulting in several countries. Midwest Biosystems has become an international company delivering compost turners to 47 states, 3 US Territories and 25 countries.

Edwin hears a common concern among Midwest farmers: They say that in recent years, more violent rainstorms alternate with weeks without rain. Total moisture for the growing season is about the same as historic records, but the soil’s ability to absorb and store moisture is diminishing.  Emphasis on no-till, cover crops and added “biological” products can help achieve more mellow tilth. But to really accelerate active humus buildup, aerobically built compost is a major factor.

Having your own compost-building equipment could create another enterprise to supplement cash flow:  Selling compost, or doing custom compost building on nearby farms.


The Midwest Bio-Systems website gives you a comprehensive look at scientific composting, so we don’t have to be repetitive here. Just visit this link for answers to the most common questions asked by farmers exploring composting opportunities.