Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-786-5045.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 01, 2007
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, email@example.com
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 as fertilizer on their farm fields. The program, jointly funded by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Poultry Federation, is designed to remove poultry litter from poultry-rich Page and Rockingham counties and move it to localities where it can better be used as needed nitrogen and phosphorus for farm fields.
Poultry litter, a mix of manure and bedding from poultry houses, is rich in the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients are needed for crop development but may cause water quality problems if over applied. Farmers in two of the state?s leading poultry producing counties, Page and Rockingham, produce an abundance of litter that can be beneficial as fertilizer in other parts of the state.
The program offers farmers conservation payments of either $5 or $12 per ton to transport and use poultry litter. Purchase and transport of poultry litter can typically cost $25 to $35 per ton.
?This is a public-private partnership that makes sense all around, ? said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resource L. Preston Bryant, Jr. ?Developing a sustainable market for poultry litter helps stimulate the farm economy and has tremendous water quality benefits as well. This transportation program helps nurture that market.?
Farmers and other land managers across the state are eligible to receive transportation incentives. Only farmers in Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Shenandoah, Northampton and Accomack ? the state?s leading poultry producing counties ? are not eligible.
?Not only farmers benefit from this partnership between the state and the Virginia Poultry Federation, ?said Robert S. Bloxom, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture. ?Both litter producers and farmers using that litter as fertilizer benefit; and we all benefit from improved water quality.?
Participants in the eastern part of the state would receive $5 per ton for transporting and using the poultry waste. For Bedford, Campbell, Halifax and all counties west, the incentive is $12 per ton. Farmers can sign up for incentives on up to 500 tons of litter. Once payments are received on that tonnage the farmer 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 minimize the loss of nutrients to nearby streams.
?We hope this project will be an added incentive for farmers who have not used poultry litter in the past, ? said Hobey Bauhan, President of the Virginia Poultry Federation. ?The poultry industry is pleased to be partner in this effort to assist poultry growers and enhance water quality protection.?
?We believe partnerships like this demonstrate the type of cooperation needed to improve the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia?s rivers,? said Joseph 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 go to www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_&_water/nmlitter.shtml. Applications can also 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 ?blue pages.?