Saturday, November 29, 2008

Poultry Farm Waste - What Next in Maryland?

Lee Richardson next to a manure shed on his chicken farm in Willards, Md. Excess poultry manure is washing into the Chesapeake Bay, worsening its condition.

How to handle the 650 million pounds of chicken manure produced in the state each year has sparked a fierce debate between environmentalists and the state’s powerful poultry industry. State officials hope to bring Maryland in line with most other states next month by enacting new rules for where, how and how long chicken farmers can spread the manure on their fields or store it in outdoor piles.

“We don’t let hog or dairy farms spread their waste unregulated, and we wouldn’t let a town of 25,000 people dump human manure untreated on open lands,” said Gerald W. Winegrad, a public policy professor at the
University of Maryland who is a former state senator. “So why should we allow a farm with 150,000 chickens do it?”

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