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

Date: February 06, 2002

Virginia poultry farmers meet deadline for required nutrient management plans

(RICHMOND, VA) Nutrient management plans have been approved for 1,068 poultry operations across the state covering 121,848 acres of agricultural land receiving poultry waste. These plans were developed by the Oct. 1, 2001 deadline for regulatory permits established through legislation two years ago. The plans were approved by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

According to department officials, these statistics account for at least 98 percent of farms identified as requiring a permit. In the Commonwealth, poultry producers with more than 11,000 turkeys or more than 20,000 chickens are required to have Virginia Pollution Abatement (VPA) General Permit to regulate the storage and land application of poultry waste.

The permit is accompanied by a DCR-approved nutrient management plan that outlines steps to prevent waste from running off land and into state waters.

Public- and private-sector professional plan writers, poultry companies and growers all had roles in meeting the deadline.

"We should acknowledge poultry companies' assistance determining which growers needed updated or new plans, collecting litter samples and helping schedule farm visits," said Leon E. App, DCR acting director.

While some growers in Virginia had existing plans, those needed modification to meet additional requirements of the regulation. For many operations, however, plans had to be developed and written.

Each nutrient management plan identifies adequate poultry waste storage sites that meet the requirements of the legislation. These are: poultry waste stockpiles must be covered within 14 days, new storage facilities can't be in the 100-year floodplain or on soils with a water table in close proximity to the surface, and must prevent contact with surface or ground water. The legislation also requires periodic soil and waste monitoring to determine nutrient levels. Plans developed or revised after October 1, 2001 must be limited on both nitrogen and phosphorus.

"Cooperation from the Virginia Poultry Federation and poultry companies was invaluable in achieving a monumental task," said Jack E. Frye, DCR soil and water conservation director. "This illustrates partnerships we've fostered to continue a conservation ethic in the agricultural community."

Twenty-one meetings around the state covered the permitting process, nutrient management planning and options for managing poultry litter. These meetings were critical for educating growers and relaying the importance of beginning the process as early as possible. DCR, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Poultry Federation and Virginia poultry companies conducted the meetings. More than 1,200 poultry growers, managers and poultry company representatives attended.

For more information, call Scott Ambler at DCR at (804) 786-2235.


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