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Weekly News Update for May 1, 2015

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

By Sarah Everhart

People in a hay ride being pulled by a tractor (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

Perdue Joins Clean Bay Biogas Project. Perdue Farms will supply poultry waste to run an anaerobic digester system as part of a project to develop biogas while reducing levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in Maryland. The Clean Bay Project features a large complete mix, co-digestion anaerobic digester system to be installed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hampton, New Hampshire-based AgEnergy USA will build the digester; Perdue will supply all of the feedstock including poultry waste and other organic materials. The facility is expected to process up to 200,000 tons of poultry waste per year. Read the full article here:{6B4DDC77-DF76-4F7F-90C4-C7CB59BD02FF}&cck=1

Plans for Farmer Supported Somerset County Wind Farm Halted. The company behind an Eastern Shore wind farm that has been in development for nearly five years has decided to pull the plug. Adam Cohen, president of Pioneer Green Energy, wrote a letter to Somerset County’s commissioners to inform them that plans for the wind farm have been suspended. “After careful review and discussion with stakeholders, it is apparent that we are no longer able to proceed with our investment in any way in the near term. We are forced to thus place the project in indefinite suspension and as such we will not be requesting a permit for construction of the Great Bay Wind project in Somerset County at the current time or in the foreseeable future,” Cohen wrote. Environmentalists, farmers and former Gov. Martin O’Malley were supportive of the wind farm, which would have allowed farmers to place the windmills on their private land and generate income. Read the full article here:

The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Summit Was All About Ag. The ideas proposed by a panel of Bay experts last Tuesday (April 21, 2015) about policy changes that could lead to greater improvements for the Chesapeake, included nutrient limits for individual farms, better environmental enforcement, more technical assistance for farmers and an honest discussion about population and greener development. “The Chesapeake Bay Summit: Charting a Course” was presented by Maryland Public Television and broadcast on numerous other public television stations throughout the watershed to offer alternative solutions. Panelists were each asked to identify a specific obstacle to Bay progress and propose a solution. Some ideas, such as setting nutrient caps for individual farms or debating a population target for the watershed, sparked lively discussion but were intended to stimulate conversations about changing the way Bay efforts have been conducted for decades. Read the full summary here:

Baltimore City Council Grants Preliminary Approval for Tax Break for Urban Farmers. The bill, sponsored by City Councilman William “Pete” Welch, would provide a 90 percent property tax break for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year. The credits, which must be approved by the city’s Office of Sustainability, are good for five years, but can be renewed for a total of 10 years, according to the bill. The bill needs one more vote before it become a law and Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings Blake has voiced her support of the bill. Urban farming has grown dramatically in recent years in Baltimore from two farms in 2008 to 13 today. Read the full article here:

Tyson To Phase Out Antibiotics In Chicken. The poultry and meat company is working to eliminate human antibiotics from its chickens over the next two years. The concern is that the use of antibiotics to treat sick chickens is making the medicine less effective in humans and contributing to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. The food industry has been under pressure from consumers and public safety advocates to come up with an alternative ways to keep chickens healthy. Other poultry producers have been taking steps to curb antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says 95% of its chickens are never given antibiotics, while Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC) is also scaling back its use of the medicine. Read the full story here:

Vegetarian Feed For Chickens- Bad For Birds. Many of the largest U.S. sellers of organic eggs boast that their hens are vegetarian, and for an increasingly food-curious public, this may be great advertising. Yet for the chickens, who are natural omnivores that readily devour bugs and small animals when they’re available, the forced vegetarianism can be a disaster. Chickens on an unsupplemented vegetarian diet typically fall short of an essential protein-based amino acid known as methionine, and without it, they fall ill. Worse, the birds will also turn on each other, seeking nutrients by pecking at each other, and these incidents can escalate into a henhouse bloodbath, farmers say. Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, a Georgia farm that raises birds, says “chickens are the furthest thing from vegetarians. That advertising is ridiculous. It’s like people going to the zoo and saying they only want to see the vegetarian tiger.” Read the full story here:

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