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In 1997, the Koochiching SWCD partnered with Boise (now Packaging Corporation of America (PCA)) to land apply wood ash from our local paper mill to local agricultural land as a liming agent.

Here are some of the benefits…

  • Beneficial reuse.  Wood ash has more than half the acid neutralizing ability of ag lime.  Ag lime has an ENP (Effective Neutralizing Power) of 1000 ENP per ton.  PCA wood ash, from burned tree bark, has ranged from 510 to 1188 ENP per ton;
  • Reduced landfill costs and improved environmental quality by removing large volumes from concentrated landfill disposal (averaging 22 tons per load up to 4 loads per day produced in International Falls);
  • Cost savings for farmers, reducing or eliminating the need to purchase farm lime and fertilizer;
  • Contribution to environmental quality and soil conservation by improving the economics of perennial forage crops as alternatives to row crops on more sensitive sites.  Koochiching County’s soil is often too acidic for best production of forages and small grains.  Farmers have reported an average of 100%+ increase in crop yields of fields where wood ash was applied.  Reapplication will vary and a soil test may be done at any time.

To obtain a soil sample kit, or for questions regarding program eligibility, see the program guides above or contact the SWCD at 218-283-1175 or