Protect Environment and Drinking Water from Poultry Industry

Some of the 17,000 poultry at Seldom Rest Farms located, north of Myerstown, PA, on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The farm maintains a crop, herd of sheep and 17,000 poultry.  The hens are kept in a two story chicken house and produce approximately 2.5 million chicks each year.  To supplement their electrical needs, they chose a contractor who knew about United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America program (REAP) grants and helped them through the application process. The farm was awarded a $152,000 grant (25% of the cost). to install the 1001kW solar array to power their farm, a neighboring farm and homes on the local electrical grid. The 240 solar panels were ground mounted with 5-foot clearance underneath to allow sheep to graze and rest underneath protected from the rain, sun or snow fall. 10 converters change the DC electrical energy from the panels into AC energy that goes into the local power grid. Spring statistics show it is producing more than expected. REAP offers grants and/or loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of renewable energy generating systems and for energy efficiency improvements. For additional important details about REAP, see USDA Multimedia by Lance Cheung.

Target: Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland

Goal: Safeguard water quality by implementing a moratorium on poultry houses.

The quality of freshwater is in danger of algal blooms from an increase of permits and applications for new poultry houses. The animal waste from these houses provide a phosphorus-rich fertilizer that is then applied to agricultural soils, which end up already having too much phosphorus already. The phosphorus leaches into underground and surface water supplies and causes algal blooms and poor water quality. We must speak up now before the chicken industry expands operations.

Maryland’s chicken industry has seen a boom in the construction of chicken houses with 200 poultry house applications on Delmarva Peninsula and 70 new houses in Somerset County. This is an alarming increase and environmental groups are demanding a moratorium on new chicken housing operations until 2024 when state regulations on the over-application of chicken fertilizer on farms will take full effect.

The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries suffer from algae blooms due to the increase of phosphorus in the water supply. If a huge amount of poultry houses are approved for this area, chicken waste will rise, creating an excess of phosphorus. Ninety-three poultry operations have reported spreading 800,000 pounds of phosphorus on 18,000 acres of farmland. The fertilizer itself can be very beneficial but, in 2013, 80 percent of poultry manure that was spread on cropland was put on soil that already had too much phosphorus.

To safeguard water quality, a moratorium on the new chicken houses should be put in place but, to truly help the situation, we must also try to eat a more plant-based diet. By signing this petition, you are urging the Governor of Maryland to halt the approval of any new poultry houses in Maryland until 2024.


Dear Governor Hogan,

Maryland’s freshwater supply, especially the Chesapeake Bay, have suffered from dangerous algal blooms that are caused by an increase of phosphorus in the water. This phenomenon will only worsen if the poultry industry in Maryland expands.

Poultry houses cause a lot of chicken waste that is then used as fertilizers on cropland. Chicken fertilizer contains huge amounts of phosphorus that is applied to already phosphorus-rich soil. Phosphorus finds its way into the water supply due to surface runoff and leaching during rains.

There currently is a surge of applications and permits for new poultry houses in Maryland and I am afraid that this will increase the risk of more pollution in the state’s water supply.

I am urging you to please put a moratorium on new poultry houses until 2024. You must act now to protect Maryland’s water quality.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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  1. Protect poultry from the poultry industry. That way everyone’s happy. Stop eating animals people.

  2. HOLD THESE BUSINESSES ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVERY WRONG THEY PERPETRATE! — go VEGAN or VEGETARIAN — ensure these companies treat animals properly with respect & care — ensure they care about & clean up continuously the environment in which they live & work. ====== Look to HFAC ==== buy products with seal, CERTIFIED HUMANE RAISED & HANDLED.

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