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Agreement with Perdue Supports the Protection of Southeastern Waters

Release Date: 01/06/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – January 6, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regions 3 and 4 announced an agreement today with Perdue Farms, Inc., to help poultry producers growing for Perdue protect our nation’s waters. The parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Perdue Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, an effort to provide training, assessments and other assistance to reduce the environmental impact of poultry farms.

“By signing this Clean Waters agreement, EPA is agreeing to work with Perdue to restore and protect surface and groundwater,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator. “These waterways provide valuable ecosystems for plant and animal life, and are a source of recreation for visitors and residents throughout the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions.”

“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 Regions 3 and 4 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.”

In addition to other sources of nutrients, runoff from improperly managed poultry farms can adversely affect surrounding surface water and groundwater quality, and have a negative effect on plant and fish life.

The formal Memorandum of Agreement, known as the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative, grew out of a pilot program initiated by EPA Region 3 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 and noted any improvements needed.
Under the Clean Waters Environmental Initiative announced today, Perdue will use results of the initial pilot effort to launch a four-year, company-wide environmental management program for all contract poultry farms growing for Perdue. 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.

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

Also 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 about EPA’s agricultural programs in the Southeast visit: http://www.epa.gov/region4/agriculture/