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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: November 01, 2007

Program to provide farmers assistance in using poultry manure as fertilizer

(RICHMOND, VA) – A new program will offer farmers from across the state$600,000 over the next three years to transport and use poultry litter asfertilizer on their farm fields. The program, jointly funded by the VirginiaDepartment of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Poultry Federation,is designed to remove poultry litter from poultry-rich Page and Rockinghamcounties and move it to localities where it can better be used as needed nitrogenand phosphorus for farm fields.

Poultry litter, a mix of manure and bedding from poultry houses, is richin the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients are needed for cropdevelopment but may cause water quality problems if over applied. Farmersin two of the state’s leading poultry producing counties, Page and Rockingham,produce an abundance of litter that can be beneficial as fertilizer in otherparts of the state.

The program offers farmers conservation payments of either $5 or $12 perton to transport and use poultry litter. Purchase and transport of poultrylitter can typically cost $25 to $35 per ton.

“This is a public-private partnership that makes sense all around, “ saidVirginia Secretary of Natural Resource L. Preston Bryant, Jr. “Developinga sustainable market for poultry litter helps stimulate the farm economy andhas tremendous water quality benefits as well. This transportation programhelps nurture that market.”

Farmers and other land managers across the state are eligible to receivetransportation incentives. Only farmers in Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Shenandoah,Northampton and Accomack – the state’s leading poultry producingcounties – are not eligible.

“Not only farmers benefit from this partnership between the state andthe Virginia Poultry Federation, “said Robert S. Bloxom, Virginia Secretaryof Agriculture. “Both litter producers and farmers using that litteras fertilizer benefit; and we all benefit from improved water quality.”

Participants in the eastern part of the state would receive $5 per ton fortransporting and using the poultry waste. For Bedford, Campbell, Halifax andall counties west, the incentive is $12 per ton. Farmers can sign up for incentiveson up to 500 tons of litter. Once payments are received on that tonnage thefarmer can reapply for up to another 500 tons.

Farms receiving the litter must have a nutrient management plan in place.Poultry litter applied based on this program’s criteria will minimizethe loss of nutrients to nearby streams.

“We hope this project will be an added incentive for farmers who havenot used poultry litter in the past, “ said Hobey Bauhan, Presidentof the Virginia Poultry Federation. “The poultry industry is pleasedto be partner in this effort to assist poultry growers and enhance water qualityprotection.”

“We believe partnerships like this demonstrate the type of cooperationneeded to improve the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia’s rivers,” saidJoseph H. Maroon, DCR director. “Poultry litter can be a valuable commodity,but if over applied, can end up in nearby streams.”

For more information on the program and to download application forms goto Applications canalso be picked up at all DCR Regional Soil and Water offices across the state.You can find the address to the nearest office in your phone directory’s “bluepages.”


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