There's a new bill brewing in the Maryland legislature that attempts to take the costs of dealing with chicken manure generated in Maryland poultry farms, and foist them off on the poultry firms like Perdue who contract with farmers to raise the chickens for market:
Maryland chicken farmers seek relief from new manure rules
The Poultry Litter Management Act, introduced Tuesday, would require chicken companies to pick up their contract farms’ excess manure and ensure it’s disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. The legislation would also allow contract growers, who reside largely on the state’s Eastern Shore, to keep manure necessary for crop fertilization.From the chicken farmers point of view:
Carole Morison, a chicken farmer from Pocomoke, was under contract with Perdue Farms for 23 years. During that time, all the chickens she raised on her farm came from Perdue, but the company did not pitch in to get rid excess waste.And from the poultry company
“When the companies come and say you have to do this, there’s no choice,” Ms. Morison said. “It’s either you do it, or you don’t get any chickens, so they always hold the contract over the farmer’s head to cajole and intimidate.”
Valerie Connelly, executive director of the Maryland Farm Bureau, said the effort to put the onus on Big Chicken is not the right approach.As a consumer of both chickens and the Maryland environment, this doesn't seem to be an important fight for me. Either way, chickenshit will get cleaned up and the price of that cleanup with show up somewhere in the price of chicken.
“We believe the concept is premature,” Ms. Connelly said. “Early analysis from [the Maryland Department of Agriculture] shows fewer acres will be impacted than originally presumed. We also urge all concerned stakeholders to put time and effort into developing and supporting alternative use technology. That is what we should be spending our time on in 2016.”
That said, I object to legislation that restricts the right of contract between the chicken grower and the poultry company. If you don't like the deal, make a better one, or don't grow the chicken.