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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Chicken Growers Urged To Participate In October Maryland Public Meetings

Georgetown, DE - Sep. 23, 2013 -- To help protect their businesses and families, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. is STRONGLY URGING chicken growers to participate in the upcoming Maryland Department of Agriculture public meetings to learn more about the new Phosphorus Management Tool proposed regulation will limit the application of chicken manure on some farmland. The public meetings will take place at two Eastern Shore meetings in October.After considerable legislative and public pressure in August, the Maryland Department of Agriculture withdrew its proposed "emergency" regulation that would have implemented this new nutrient management tool immediately. A few days later the department began working on a new version that would allow a little more time for farmers who apply manure to adjust to the new limits on manure applications. Even with that one year phase-in system, DPI believes there still will be hardships on chicken growers and for farmers who use manure as a fertilizer.

The upcoming Maryland Department of Agriculture public meetings will attempt to explain what has occurred on this issue in recent months, how the new Phosphorus Management Tool will work, what the implications could be for the agricultural community, and how manure applicators are expected to implement the new rules.
In urging attendance at the meetings, DPI encouraged growers to use that opportunity to have their questions answered while also letting the department know what they think.

The briefings aim to inform persons of the new proposal prior to the 30-day public comment period, which begins with publication in the Maryland Register anticipated for October 18, 2013.

And equally important, DPI urges growers to submit their written comments and expressions of concern about the new regulation during the official 30 day public comment period. Comments made at the two public meetings are not part of the official record in the regulation adoption process. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has no legal responsibility to pay any attention to comments during those meetings. But, the department must consider public comments submitted during the 30 day comment period. 
Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance has pointed out that during the public comment period early this year on an earlier version of the regulation, there were only seven comments submitted, though some of those comments from agricultural groups like DPI represented thousands of farmers. DPI is asking its members to make sure more than seven comments are submitted during the soon-to-open official 30 day comment period.

The Eastern Shore public meetings will be held:
Tuesday, October 8 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Wicomico Youth & Civic Center - Flanders Rooms
500 Glen Avenue
Tuesday, October 15 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Talbot County Community Center
10028 Ocean Gateway

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