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.