A group of Maryland lawmakers want to make the large poultry processors to take responsibility for the manure that their chickens generate on contract farms. The Poultry Litter Requirement Act would change the existing practice in the industry, where the farmers have to manage the manure that the chickens leave behind.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the bill is expected to face stiff opposition from poultry companies. Environmentalists say the industry's practices place an unfair burden on farmers to deal with the pollution.
The bill would establish that poultry companies are responsible for the manure from their birds and require them to remove excess manure from their contracted farms. There also are documentation requirements in the bill.
"Those individuals who are making the mess need to clean up the mess," said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the Senate's Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Julie DeYoung, Perdue Farms spokesperson, said that Perdue already picks up chicken litter that their farmers cannot otherwise remove and take it to a facility that turns it into pelletized fertilizer.
"Those who claim that Perdue is putting the responsibility for poultry litter on our farmers are choosing to ignore this fact," DeYoung said.