Business: BS Ranch and Farm
In business since: 2009
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Doosan equipment: DX300MH-5 material handler, DA40 articulated dump truck, DL300-5 wheel loaders, DX300LC-5 crawler excavator
Doosan dealer: Synergy Equipment
Bill Stanton grew up on a farm in his native Florida. His family raised animals and cared for the environment, and this upbringing led him to a career in a unique organic recycling business.
Bill is 54 years old and has had a lot of different careers in his lifetime. “I’ve worked in a lot of different things, from wastewater treatment plants to power plants,” he says. His experience was invaluable when he started BS Ranch and Farm with his wife, Brandy, 12 years ago.
BS Ranch and Farm occupies 340 acres in Lakeland, Florida. Bill describes it as an industrial facility and says the soil farm is the only one of its kind in North America. He founded the business because of a need to divert organics from landfills and create a product that’s comparable to topsoil.
“I grew up in a rural environment with animals and wildlife,” Bill says. “I understood the balance of what it’s like in the rural environment. And that’s why I noticed that there was a gap between the urban and rural areas. I noticed that there was a big variation in how the different cultures and the rural and urban communities treat the environment. One of the largest things I noticed is that the consumables come from the rural areas, get trucked into the cities, and are then discarded. So, to try and make a relationship there is to have the material come back, go through a treatment process of one nature or another and, once it’s healthy, be used again in the rural environment.”
Trucks come and go at all times of the day bringing material to BS Ranch and Farm. Three main types of material are accepted: wood waste, food residuals and biosolids. They come from an area in approximately a 100-mile radius from the facility. Trucks enter the facility and are weighed on a scale. From there the trucks transport the incoming material to the delivery area.
Bill and his co-workers initiate the decomposition process that can take between three and five years.
“We leave some of the material in a whole state and let it decompose prior to either grinding or blending it with other materials,” Bill says. “We create large piles that help to generate some heat. We blend the material so the wood absorbs all the nutrients and the proteins and amino acids from the decaying, more concentrated organic materials, such as septic, biosolids and food residuals.” Food that is otherwise wasted is a significant part of the decomposition process. Bill accepts food residuals from food processing plants, restaurants, hotels and grocery stores.
“Grocery stores put food waste in carts that are from one to five cubic yards in size,” he says. “And then they have specialty trucks that come around and pick those up. It becomes food for the vegetation. It decomposes and it has specific bacteria that help to function in the rotting process.”
With some of the food waste comes packaging that must be separated from the material.
“We call our de-packaging process product destruction,” Bill says. “We run the food material and packaging through machinery to separate it. We remove all the plastics and what can be considered contaminants upfront. We even disassemble some of it by hand. What we don’t get through that part of the process, we take out as much as we possibly can in the final screening process.”
Biosolids are the third type of material accepted at BS Ranch and Farm.
“The biosolids finish off the entire circle of all the organic materials that are excreted from the city and urban environment,” he says. “The biosolids can’t stay there. It’s not complete. It’s not finished in its decay process, in which case, that’s something that we provide.
“All of the biosolids are processed through filters to remove as many inert contaminants as possible. It’s all emulsified into a liquid state. And then it goes through lagoons for up to six to eight months and even a year before it's added to the other carbon material, that being the wood and yard debris.”
After the material has decayed for three to five years, employees process it with grinders and screening plants, getting it to its mature point. The new topsoil product is stockpiled and sold in bulk. Any oversize material returns to the piles and stays in operation until it’s decayed.
Running a facility of this size and managing the organic materials requires a significant heavy equipment fleet. A variety of excavators, wheel loaders, material handlers and articulated dump trucks assist Bill and his co-workers throughout the decomposition process.
Two Doosan® DL300-5 wheel loaders handle the bulk of the yard debris, land-clearing and wood waste intake. As trucks deliver the material, a wheel loader operator uses the machine with a grapple to help offload the material, separate larger logs from smaller debris and handle the waste. A second wheel loader is equipped with a high-capacity bucket to handle the mulch that is delivered to the facility. It also loads material into a DA40 articulated dump truck (ADT) to be transported to another treatment area. Bill’s employees place 5 to 10 feet of mulch on the bottom of the area before they load other material on top of it.
“We like the DL300-5 wheel loaders because they fall in the middle of the heavy equipment spectrum,” Bill says. “They’re very mobile and not overly big for the work that they’re doing. We’ll run the wheel loaders up to approximately 2,400 hours a year.”
Working alongside the wheel loaders in the intake area is a Doosan DX300MH-5 material handler. It’s paired with a grapple to lift and sort wood waste, and it also loads it in the Doosan ADT. A hydraulic rising cab allows the operator to get a better view of the material, which is helpful when loading the ADT.
Partnership with Synergy
When Bill needed heavy equipment, he searched for a local Doosan dealer. At the time, Doosan did not have a presence in his area, but that’s changed. A Synergy Equipment location 30 miles from BS Ranch and Farm now provides Doosan machines, parts and service.
Half a dozen Doosan machines are hard at work at BS Ranch and Farm. A big part of the successful relationship between the facility and Doosan is Synergy Equipment’s ability to pair the right attachments with Bill’s machines.
“Since we’ve been working with them for the last two years, Synergy has been able to provide well-balanced attachments for us,” Bill says.
Parts support is another reason why Bill has been pleased with Doosan and Synergy. Synergy employees deliver parts or have them shipped directly to the facility.
“If I need parts, I can usually have them within 24 hours,” Bill says. “It’s been a one-stop call. On other equipment brands, I’ve had some of the machines down for up to months at a time due to a lack of parts supply and availability. Synergy has been very responsive.”
Based on the success of BS Ranch and Farm and the growing need to recycle organic material, Bill has big plans for the future of his company.
“We have plans to expand,” he says. “Our facility here is a large-scale prototype. We plan to put up a farm similar to this in the Fort Myers and Naples area to service that part of the state.”
Perched atop a pile of decaying material is a Doosan DX300LC-5 excavator with a super-long-reach configuration. It’s paired with a grapple attachment and uses its extended reach to work the pile.
“The operator uses the DX300LC-5 to work the toe of the slopes on the different tiers of the pile to move the logs back into the center of the pile,” Bill says. “The super-long-reach configuration works well for the size of the piles in the area and the reach. Part of what we do is actually harvesting in a liquid state. And that machine is primarily for that harvesting process.”
Bill’s newest addition to the facility is the Doosan ADT.
“So far, the ADT has done very, very well in its handling capacity,” he says. “If it didn’t, it wouldn't still be out here. Our downtime has been none. It’s comfortable for the operator. So we are actually in discussions to acquire several more of those trucks here in a short period of time.
“Our environment is a little bit different than a lot of other places because we’re working with organic material. We have to be concerned about the dust buildup and collection on the machines. So we clean it out on a regular basis, but if the machine is too compressed and too confined in its engine and control compartments, then the material can build up and cause fires. We’ve had other trucks that we can’t use out here due to the fact that they actually catch fire very quickly. And so far, we’ve had no problems with Doosan in regard to that. It breathes very well. It's easy to clean and maintain.”
“We like the dl300-5 wheel loaders because they fall in the middle of the heavy equipment spectrum. They’re very mobile and not overly big for the work that they’re doing.”
‘Come a Long Way’
Bill got his first taste of Doosan equipment nearly 20 years ago. He was working in the marine construction industry.
The machines performed well then and still do today. “The biomechanics of the machines make them easier to operate,” he says. “The relationship of the operator to the machine itself has come a long way. Doosan has done a really, really good job with that.”
He’s also noted enhanced fuel efficiency with today’s Doosan equipment compared to earlier iterations.
“The fuel consumption is not as high as on other brands because the engines and transmissions regulate themselves,” he says. “So the operators really aren't able to overpower the machine. The operators run the excavators a lot in the eco mode because they don’t need all that power … our material is light.”
Maintenance Made Easy
Maintenance is paramount to Bill Stanton and his employees. That’s why he purchased maintenance service contracts from Synergy Equipment for his Doosan® machines.
“It’s worked out very well for us,” Bill says. “It makes it easier for us to not have to deal with those fluids and services of that nature. It’s very convenient. And it is financially feasible.
Synergy services the drive trains, planetaries and hydraulic services at the 500-hour and 1,000-hour intervals. They send it all off for testing and can let us know the state and the health of the machine.”
Brandy and Bill Stanton, owners of BS Ranch and Farm.