Two poultry production complexes are being planned for construction in Kent County, located near Farmington, Del. The two operations, once completed, would contain as many as 30 chicken houses, each of which would hold 35,000 and 50,000 birds. The chickens would be processed by Mountaire Farms and Perdue, reports The News Journal.
Some neighbors were critical of the projects, which under Delaware’s “Right to farm” law, allows farmers to put as many chicken houses on a plot of agriculturally zoned land as they want. That law was originally designed to aid small farmers.
"It's not a normal farming operation. It is a megafarm," said Danny Russum, who lives nearby and has his own chicken houses. "Yeah, it's agriculture because the product is a farm product. But the operation is not a normal farming operation."
The two proposed operations are well above the average for a new chicken farm, which is somewhere between three and five houses at one site, said Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Association.
"Even 10 is larger than the norm," he said. "It is an unusual situation, but it shows that this property owner and the chicken companies have great faith that they can make a go of it in Delaware."
One of the farms is zoned for 20 chicken houses across two plots of land, though only 12 have been zoned. A spokesman for Mountaire Farms said that the plan is to build 12 houses on the farm.
"There aren't going to be 20 there, not with us," said Bill Massey, vice president for live production. "We just don't want that many houses in one site."
The 10-house operation on 77 acres of land down the road was bought for $512,000 in April 2013 by Daim Farms LLC. The owner listed on the plans, Ghulam Gujar, said he is producing for Perdue. He expected to produce 450,000 chickens a year. He said he has four other houses that produce for Perdue in the state.
Source: The News Journal