For the last few years, Jason Lambertson’s farm near Pocomoke City on the Lower Eastern Shore has been home to an expensive experiment. The third-generation farmer received nearly $1 million in state funding to build a giant poultry waste converter and distribute its main product: fertilizer. But profits have yet to arrive.
Maryland legislators and contract farmers hired by companies to grow chickens are proposing the Poultry Litter Management Act that would require major animal agriculture companies to pay the cost of properly disposing excess manure on their contract farms. It’s a fairness issue, it has an adverse impact on our environment and we need to clean it up,” said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore, “and those individuals who are making the mess need to clean up the mess.”
The poultry industry helps drive the economy of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but poultry litter — chicken manure — has been blamed as one of the greatest contributors to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Large producers, farmers, and state initiatives alike are working together to lessen the industry’s environmental impact while preserving the businesses.