When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s exactly what Kimberly Martin decided to do when a neighbor complained about the tree trunks that were being stored on her and husband Cody’s farm. After the complaint, EPC came out and told them “you can’t do that without a permit.” “My husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘Do you want to get a permit?’ and that’s what we did,” Martin said. “It developed into a very successful green waste recycling facility from that neighbor complaint.”
Poo-Fessional Recycled Organics and Land Management Inc. (PRO Inc) is a small, family, minority female-owned, home-based company operated on 14 acres in Keystone on Tyler Road. The nature of their business is producing professional grade compost, topsoil, garden soil, mulch, vermicompost, firewood and compactable fill from recycling and screening unsuitable soils, plant debris, and manure; they are one of only two businesses in Hillsborough county to accept manure. PRO also provides site work services including clearing, excavating, laser grading, grinding, bush hog mowing and more.
While they accept organic matter from several local businesses and landscaping services such as KCA members Arborist Aboard, they also provide composted garden soil to Keystone Farmer’s Market and Raprager Family Farm (formerly CeeBee’s) both also KCA members. Kim loves the sense of community in Keystone and PRO certainly is a community business here.
The owners of PRO are Kim Martin and EllaMay Bogdan. Kim is a graduate from the University of Florida and an Agricultural Teacher at Gaither High School. EllaMay has an engineering degree and owns a small farm in Odessa. Kim and EllaMay share a passion for the environment, gardening, and business. Kim is very comfortable driving a loader or giving a tour of the dirt piles and tree stumps that have been brought from all over this part of the state. In fact, the enormous stump from the 80-foot laurel oak tree removed from my own front yard ended up at PRO. EllaMay is a project engineer for Honeywell Aerospace and mostly works behind the scenes for the farm.
On a recent tour of PRO, both my husband and I were very excited to see the operation. When you pull into the “farm” there are piles of organic matter in varying degrees of recycling. The larger pieces of tree trunks and stumps are sliced up into smaller pieces that fit into a machine that chops it up into pieces to eventually be turned into mulch or to be composted down into topsoil or mixed in with composted horse manure. Other piles are chopped and screened through more equipment to eventually be turned into compost… rich, deep, beautiful compost. The 14-acre farm has areas of dirt in varying stages of composting from just a few weeks to several months. The compost temperature is checked daily and the soils are tested quarterly. PRO is regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the EPC. It is quite an impressive operation. 100 percent of what comes in is recycled and the operation is 100 percent organic.
Another part of the operation that happened almost by accident is vermicompost. PRO is now one of six worm farms in the state. When the SBDC business consultant she was working with mentioned vermiculture to Kim, it piqued her interest, and “just from his one comment, we now have worms,” Martin said. PRO sells bags of the vermicompost and even throws in a handful of the worms for you to add to your own garden. Last summer, PRO conducted their own 90-day growth experiment of vegetables in their different soils starting with fill dirt, then topsoil, next was their garden soil and finally the vermicompost. The growth established was exactly in that order with the vermicompost vegetables the clear winners and the garden soil a close runner up. After seeing the results from this little experiment, I’m glad that I bought several yards of the composted garden soil to add to my garden area at home. Next time I stop in, I will be looking for a bag of the vermicompost to add to the garden.
The owners have combined their over 15 years of expertise in teaching agricultural education, engineering and project management, owning and operating a successful site preparation company and a love of gardening to create a premier recycling facility near the Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas county borders right here in Keystone. All the different types of soil are available for pickup or delivery from Poo-Fessional Recycled Organics. If you are a contractor, you are probably already aware of PRO’s services, but feel free to reach out to them for pricing.
All information can be found on their website www.dirtdynasty.biz or they can be reached at 813-758-4213.
The address is 18510 Tyler Road, Odessa, FL 33556