Environmental Groups Resist Call to Withdraw Support for Poultry Litter Bill

A Delmarva Farmer article (2016-03-29) reported that environmental groups are resisting a request from the Eastern Shore Delegation to withdraw support from the proposed Poultry Litter Management Act (HB 599/SB 496). The bills would make a poultry company (an “integrator”) responsible for the removal and disposal of poultry manure produced by its contract farms that is not able to be utilized on the farm’s own property or adjacent land under the farm’s control.

In light of concerns over cost and impact on the poultry industry, the Eastern Shore Delegation held a meeting with two key supporters of the legislation: Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Executive Director Alison Prost and Maryland League of Conservation Voters Political Director Kristen Harbeson. In response to the meeting, the Eastern Shore Delegation sent a letter to Prost and Harbeson:

“The delegation unanimously wanted to offer each of your organizations the opportunity to show goodwill by withdrawing your support for HB 599/SB496, Poultry Litter Management Act, and to ask the sponsors to withdraw the bills. This would begin to sooth the animosity and frustration that has been developed between the agricultural community and your organizations.

While the Maryland Farm Bureau supported the Delegation’s request, CBF stated that it did not intend to withdraw its support but did acknowledge cost concerns around the bill:

Valerie Connelly, Maryland Farm Bureau executive director, lauded the Eastern Shore delegation, for “their effort to protect family farm operations.” …

Asked to respond to the letter, Tom Zolper, communications director for the Bay Foundation in Maryland, said there were “no plans to withdraw” the measure.

However, he called “the big hang-up” which had become evident in the committee hearings, was the “lack of clarity” in the ultimate cost of the disposal of the litter.

Useful Links

HB 599 / SB 496

CBF Website

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Website

Maryland Farm Bureau Website