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EPA and Perdue Farms Inc. Sign Water Protection Initiative

Release Date: 01/06/2009
Contact Information: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (January 6, 2009) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement today with Perdue Farms, Inc., to help protect our nation’s waters in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

EPA and Perdue have signed an agreement to implement the Perdue clean waters environmental initiative, an effort to provide training, assessments and assistance in reducing the environmental impacts of poultry farms.

“Runoff from improperly managed poultry farms can harm water quality, as well as plant and fish life. This agreement will ensure that Perdue contract growers, here and in the Southeast are in compliance with regulatory requirements and have reduced their impact on our waterways,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA mid-Atlantic region.

“Perdue Farms is committed to environmental stewardship and shares that commitment with the independent farm families who raise our birds,” said Perdue chairman Jim Perdue. “We are pleased to work cooperatively with EPA to enhance the implementation of environmental best management practices on poultry farms, and feel that working together and providing producers with knowledge and resources to enable them to be good environmental stewards is the most productive route to our shared goals of protecting our natural resources and preserving the family farm.”

The formal memorandum of agreement grew out of a pilot program initiated by EPA and Perdue on the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Beginning in 2007, EPA and Perdue provided training and assistance to the largest independent contract poultry farms growing for Perdue throughout the peninsula. Trained flock supervisors visited each farm and used a checklist to examine how well the farmers complied with nutrient management regulations and best management practices in their poultry production areas. They also noted any improvements that were needed.

Under the agreement announced today, Perdue will use results of the initial pilot effort to launch a four-year, environmental management program. While new federal regulations only apply to concentrated animal feeding operations that discharge, this program will extend to all Perdue producers in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions.

Perdue, EPA and their partners will provide training and assistance to poultry farmers so that they can learn how to achieve or exceed compliance with guidelines for controlling runoff and managing litter disposal. The initiative will also include an awards program to recognize poultry farms that demonstrate environmental excellence in protecting and restoring waterways.

As part of the initiative, Perdue poultry processing facilities will each implement an environmental management system - a set of processes and practices designed to reduce environmental impacts and increase operating efficiency.

For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/region03/Perdue_MOU.pdf