Vegetative Environmental Buffers

The Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) Vegetative Environmental Buffers program helps with air quality improvements and good neighbor relations on chicken farms in Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. DPI assumed responsibility for the program in 2006 after its creation by the University of Delaware. Today, the planting of trees around chicken houses has demonstrated both air quality and water quality benefits. Planted buffers also provide a visual screen between chicken houses and neighboring properties. Some chicken companies require new growers to plant new buffers before placing birds in their houses, and some counties on Delmarva have adopted vegetative buffer requirements around chicken houses zoning codes.

Properly designed buffers with farm specific plants, either trees or grasses, help capture air emissions from chicken houses. Additionally, these buffers can absorb nutrients in the soil and water around chicken houses and help prevent the movement of nutrients to adjacent waters.

Since 2006, the DPI Vegetative Environmental Buffers Coordinator has worked with hundreds of growers and overseen the designs of buffers, helped growers navigate the systems of cost-share programs, and identified contractors to help with the plantings.

Delmarva chicken growers can contact program coordinator Jim Passwaters to learn more about this internationally known environmental program.