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EPA signs Clean Bays agreement with Perdue to help protect Chesapeake, Delaware coastal bays

Release Date: 09/20/2006
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567 seneca.roy@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Perdue Farms Inc. signed an agreement today that will set up a program to help minimize the environmental impact that poultry farms have on the Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays around the Delmarva peninsula. The program initially focuses on the largest farms that supply Perdue with chickens.

“Our shared goal in signing this Clean Bays agreement is the restoration and protection of the waters of Delmarva, which provide a valuable ecosystem to plant and animal life and provide a valuable source of recreation to visitors and residents throughout the mid-Atlantic region,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

“Perdue Farms is committed to environmental stewardship and shares that commitment with our farm-family partners. We are pleased to partner with EPA mid-Atlantic region and work cooperatively to enhance the knowledge and implementation of environmental best management practices on poultry farms. We believe it is possible to preserve the family farm and provide a safe, abundant and affordable food supply while protecting our communities and the environment. We feel working together is the most productive route to our shared goals of protecting our natural resources and preserving our family farms,” said Jim Perdue, chairman
of Perdue Farms Inc.

Runoff from improperly managed poultry farms can adversely affect the water quality of the bay waters and have a negative effect on plant and fish life.

Under the formal Memorandum of Agreement known as the Clean Bays agreement, beginning in 2007, trained flock supervisors from Perdue will visit the larger poultry farms throughout the Delmarva peninsula to evaluate how they are controlling runoff and addressing litter disposal. The supervisors will use a checklist to examine how well the farms are complying with nutrient management regulations related to their poultry operations and identify areas for improvement.

Based on the results of this initial pilot effort, Perdue will use the information gathered from the farms to launch a company-wide environmental management program in 2008 for all of its contract poultry farms throughout the country. Under the program, Perdue, EPA and other partners will provide training and assistance to poultry farmers so that they can learn how to be at or above compliance with guidelines on controlling runoff and managing litter disposal.

The program will also include an awards project to recognize poultry farms that demonstrate environmental and compliance excellence in protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay and other coastal bay waters around the Delmarva peninsula.

Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich will recognize the Clean Bays agreement tomorrow when he joins EPA representatives in presenting Perdue with a special recognition award during the Chesapeake Executive Council’s Restoration Fair at Maryland’s Sandy Point State Park.

For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ .

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