Proposed New Maryland Environmental Regulation Gains Support

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and leading Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly on March 18 reached agreement on a new Phosphorus Management Tool regulation that has received support from agricultural groups including Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. and some groups in the environmental industry. This will halt an effort to place this farm management tool into state statute, a situation that would limit the state's ability to make changes if changes are indicated. A regulation allows a more nimble system of change.

The new proposal offers a common sense plan to limit farmland applications of phosphorus, with full implementation by 2024. It also allows, if necessary, two one-year pauses in the implementation schedule if there are not adequate resources to help chicken growers struggling to find homes for their manure due to less farmland being eligible for manure applications. An advisory committee will meet at least annually to study the manure issues and make recommendations to the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture on the level of available resources.

A spokesman for Governor Hogan issued this statement. "The Hogan administration has worked closely with the agricultural and environmental communities as well as legislators to find a balanced plan for limiting phosphorus and we are pleased that all sides are on board with this approach. There has always been agreement on the problem: there's too much phosphorous, nitrogen, and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay. Now we have agreement on a solution that represents one of the most important steps forward in environmental policy in last decade. We thank all parties for their hard work on this critical issue."

One of the keys to smooth implementation of this new farm management program is the creation of facilities that will convert chicken manure into value-added products such as fertilizers, energy, or something else. Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. continues to work with companies interested in developing these alternative use facilities.

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