poultry

official photo

As tourists begin to flock to the Delmarva beaches fro July 4th the coronavirus pandemic has seen many business on the peninsula struggle to survive. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Memo Dirikir, director of Salisbury University's Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network, about the immediate and long term effects of the pandemic restrictions as Maryland begins to reopen. (Part 1) 

Virus Update

May 1, 2020
msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland is reporting more than 37,000 unemployment claims filed for last week. The numbers reported Thursday marked the third straight week the numbers have declined from more than 109,000 the week of April 4. There have been more than 385,000 claims filed in the last six weeks. That's an unprecedented surge in a state where businesses have been shuttered for weeks in response to the coronavirus. The number of cases has bedeviled the state labor department's unemployment website. Gov. Larry Hogan acknowledged the “serious problems” with a new website on Wednesday.

elizabeth prata / creative commons

With the expected slaughter of 2 million chickens on Delmarva due to staffing shortages at the poultry processing plants resulting from the coronavirus the prospects for chicken growers is uncertain. Virgil Shockley, a Worcester County farmer and chicken grower, says if the current pandemic continues it could spell serious financial trouble for region and the state.

Mountaire logo

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware poultry processing company has agreed to pay a $420,000 penalty in response to accusations that it contaminated area surface and groundwater.

Under an agreement reached with Delaware officials, Mountaire Farms also will upgrade the wastewater system at its Millsboro plant.

The agreement and proposed consent decree were filed in federal court Monday.

The agreement also requires Mountaire to offer area residents options for alternative water supplies.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland will sample air on the lower Eastern Shore to examine the potential effects of large poultry houses on air quality.

The Department of the Environment announced Tuesday that monitoring stations will collect preliminary data on ammonia and particulate matter levels near poultry houses for comparison with air quality elsewhere in the state.

pixabay

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials have reached an agreement with a southern Delaware poultry processing company over wastewater violations.

Officials said Wednesday that Allen Harim has signed a conciliation order settling past violations at its processing facility in Harbeson and at a hatchery facility in Dagsboro.

The settlement includes an administrative penalty of $300,000, although half that amount can be applied to a project to improve water quality in the Broadkill River Watershed.

creative commons

Perdue Farms operations in the Carolinas are returning back to normal after the torrential rains and wind from Hurricane Florence.

Last week the poultry company closed three of its processing plants in advance of the storm and move chickens from low lying areas.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that two of the plants are now up and running again with the third ready to restart as soon as the city begins supplying water at the end of the week.

Mountaire logo

MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - A Delaware poultry farm facing a potential lawsuit over contaminated water says it's not to blame.

Mountaire Farms in Millsboro issued a statement Wednesday that groundwater problems around its plant in Millsboro are not the fault of its processing plant. In the statement, they say 20 percent of drinking-water wells in Sussex County suffer from increased nitrate levels and that the problem predates the plant's existence.

creative commons

HARBESON, Del. (AP) - Delaware has slapped a poultry producer with nearly $250,000 in penalties and other costs for years of wastewater violations at a chicken processing plant.

The News Journal reports the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control released a secretary's order Wednesday assessing Allen Harim Foods a $241,000 fine for more than 90 violations at its Harbeson plant. The company must also pay the department nearly $8,000 to cover its investigations.

Mountaire logo

Mountaire Farms and elected officials told a gathering last night that they do not believe the poultry company is responsible for high levels of nitrates in wells near Millsboro.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Mountaire Executive Vice President Michael Tirrell told the audience that he believe science will back up that claim.

He added that the company is willing to pay for drilling deep wells for property owners affected by groundwater contamination.

Meanwhile, Mountaire is designing a new wastewater facility with additional tanks to handle the flow.

Nat-Phen International website

BALTIMORE (AP) - A manufacturer of natural food additives for livestock feed is opening a facility in Salisbury.

Canadian-based Nat-Phen International expects to invest $10 million in the new facility over the next five years and create up to 25 new jobs. More jobs could be added once the site is fully operational.

Gov. Larry Hogan met with the company on Thursday in Montreal as part of a regional economic development mission to Canada.

The company produces plant-based additives to enhance the feed given to swine, poultry, cattle and livestock.

Don Rush

Commercial poultry operations will no longer be allowed in residential or general business zoning districts in Accomack County.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to bar the practice.

Such operations had been allow in those areas after getting a special use permit.

The planning department asked the board to act after an application to build four poultry houses on over 200-acres in Horntown located near a residential area.

Concern over the rise in the number of chicken houses has grown over the years.

Perdue Logo

Two worker advocacy groups held a rally in front of the Perdue Processing Plant in downtown Salisbury to deliver a petition to representatives of the company.

The rally was held by Oxfam and CATA a worker’s rights group.

They called on the poultry company to be more transparent about listening to their employees about working conditions.

Jessica Culley, a supporter, told WBOC that there were problems getting time off for medical appointments or taking vacation time.

Don Rush

The building permit for 10 large chicken houses in Wicomico County is being challenged by two local residents.

Monica Brooks and Gabby Cammarata live near the proposed operation just outside of Salisbury.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that they charge the regulatory framework for the project does not do enough to protect the environment and the health of neighbors.

Meanwhile, Jack Lennox, head of planning for the county told the paper, that the project was approved because it met all the requirements of the county code.

elizabeth prata / creative commons

The public weighed in on a proposal for a separate zoning category in Worcester County that would include a limit of 8 chicken houses on a parcel and a 200 foot setback from surrounding property.

In addition the plan would require a vegetative buffer zone.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the meeting was hosted by the Assateague Coastal Trust which has been critical of the development of large chicken operations.

Marc Steiner Annapolis Summit website

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) and top Democratic Legislative Leaders spar at Marc Steiner's Annapolis Summit as the General Assembly's 90 day session got underway this week. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush has this report.

creative commons

The poultry industry on Delmarva is watching cautiously with reports of the avian flu in more than a dozen countries.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the last major outbreak in this country occurred in 2015 when some 50 million birds were slaughtered primarily in the Midwest.

There was an outbreak on the peninsula at two Delaware farms and one near Pocomoke City in 2004.

That resulted in the slaughter of just over 200-thousand birds.

The Daily Times reports that outbreak was less contagious than the one in 2015 and the current outbreaks.

Don Rush

The emergence of the large chicken house operations has caused a stir in Wicomico County. Residents near a proposed 10 house operation near Naylor Mill Road have protested the project and led to the County Council to draw up new regulations for these types of operations. In part three of our series Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush looks at the residents, the local officials and the fight over the new regulations.

Harim Allen Chicken Website

HARBESON, Del. (AP) - Poultry producer Allen Harim is celebrating upgrades at the company's processing plant in Harbeson.

The company says it has invested about $30 million to date in expansions and renovations and expects to invest a total of about $40 million by the end of next year.

Renovations at the Harbeson site include upgrades to its wastewater system and production lines that will allow production to double to almost 2 million birds a week.

State officials approved some $11 million in low-interest loans for the wastewater system improvements and expansions.

Don Rush

Some residents in Somerset County could get 12-house mega-chicken operation moving into the neighborhood.

It would be located on Anderson Road where neighbors at the dead end street say they worry about the operation’s impact on the area.

WBOC reports that Gary Pusey, the planning and zoning director, says that there is no need for comment from the public if the operation meets requirements of the proposed county poultry house rules.

elizabeth prata / creative commons

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) - Perdue Foods is says it's renewing its focus on care for its chickens.

The Salisbury-based firm announced a plan Monday that focuses on animals' wants and needs, including a commitment to install windows in chicken houses to compare birds' health and activity to enclosed housing.

creative commons

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) - Changes may be on the horizon for poultry growers in Somerset County.

County commissioners are considering several zoning changes related to poultry operations, including increasing the required distance between chicken houses and neighboring properties.

At a meeting Tuesday, officials also will consider several other recommendations, including landscaping requirements and a proposal that ventilation fans be kept 1,000 feet away from adjacent properties.

elizabeth prata / creative commons

There was another public forum on the debate over the arrival of mega chicken houses in Wicomico County.

It was held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center last night by local government leaders.

But WBOC reports that when it was over many critics walked away unsatisfied.

There were representatives from the state departments of health, agriculture and the environment to answer questions from the public.

Don Rush

An environmental consultant says that it would be okay for Wicomico County to allow the large chicken house operation slated for Naylor Mill Road.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that John D. Hynes and Associates found that the Maryland groundwater protection rules would be strong enough to protect such areas as the Paleo Channel and nearby waterways.

The paper says that Monica Brooks, a local resident and critic of the project, called the report “passing the buck” to justify going forward.

creative commons

The proposed mega-poultry operation for Naylor Mill road riles up local residents as political leaders struggle with the new phenomenon in the chicken industry. Delmarva Public Radio's Patrick Lieb prepared this report.

creative commons

There will be no moratorium on large chicken houses in Wicomico County.

Council president John Cannon told a meeting last night, that the council does not have enough information to impose one. 

Don Rush

Maryland officials told Wicomico County residents that when it came to pollution from the planned mega chicken house operation along Naylor Mill Road there would be zero tolerance.

There were around 400 people who showed up at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for last night’s meeting put together by County Executive Bob Culver.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that among the signs at the meeting – one read: “Save our water for our future.”

creative commons

There could up to 8 chicken houses near the town of Hebron.

They would be located at the southeast corner of Levin Dashield Road and Rockawalkin Ridge Road.

The Salisbury Daily Times is reporting that Ali Murtaza from New York is listed with the Maryland Department of the Environment for the permits.

The paper reports that when contacted by phone they were told, “I don’t want to say anything about it.”

The proposed chicken operation come on the heels of the uproar over another major poultry house slated for the Naylor Mill Road area in Wicomico County.

msa.maryland.gov

Local residents showed up at the Wicomico County Council meeting last night to express their dismay at the prospect of a poultry farm that is expected to have at least 10 chicken houses located just north of Salisbury along Naylor Mill Road.

Not only did the scale of the poultry house concern residents but they also worried about the impact on the Paleo Channel aquifer.

Council President John Cannon told residents that the research presented to them would be fully reviewed.

Don Rush

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver has issued a statement to reassure local residents about the large poultry operation planned for the Naylor Mill Road area.

Culver said that many of the statements at public meetings and in the media have been “less than accurate”.

But he added that he did have concerns about the issue and would reach out to experts who are charged with the responsibility of protecting public health and the environment.

Pages