Poultry Production

March 14, 2014, Finlayson, MN – Luoma Egg Ranch, an egg producer near Finlayson, Minn., was fined $95,000 by state pollution regulators for violations stemming from chicken manure spills.

Luoma failed to report and attempted to cover up the liquid manure discharges from its egg-laying operation, said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The company also improperly disposed of dead chickens, another violation. The $95,000 fine is one of the largest levied by the pollution agency in the past two years. READ MORE




Published in Poultry
December 23, 2013 – About 10 million tons of poultry litter is generated annually in the U.S. Georgia, being the top poultry state, provides about 20 to 25 percent of it. It’s most common use is for land application or fertilizer for crops and pastures, but farmers need to handle right.

Poultry litter’s fertilizer value runs more than $80 per ton, according to a 2011 University of Georgia survey and study about the use of poultry litter among south Georgia crop producers. READ MORE
Published in Poultry
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Nov. 20, 2013 - The Egg Industry Center recently released a study that shows that while U.S. egg production has increased over the past 50 years, the industry has also been able to significantly decrease its environmental footprint.

Researchers conducted a lifecycle analysis of U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010 to evaluate environmental performance measures for the complete lifecycle from crops to hens to the farm gate. Study findings indicate that the environmental efficiencies are the result of a wide range of factors, including the reduction of natural resource use, improved hen feed, better disease control and advancements in hen housing systems.

"The U.S. egg industry has evolved remarkably over the past five decades by incorporating new technologies to protect natural resources," said Hongwei Xin, agricultural and biosystems engineering and animal science professor at Iowa State University, director of the Egg Industry Center and the study's lead researcher. "Egg farmers have improved their production practices, allowing them to provide an affordable source of high-quality protein while using fewer resources and producing less waste."

Key results of the study found that compared to 1960:
  • The egg production process releases significantly less polluting emissions, including 71 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Hens now use 32 percent less water per dozen eggs produced.
  • Today's hens use a little over half the amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs.
  • At the same time, today's hens produce 27 percent more eggs per day and are living longer.
Due to increased feed efficiency, advancements in hen housing and manure management, egg farms now use less water and energy on a daily basis and release less polluting emissions. Every aspect of the egg production process, from cultivating feed to raising the laying hens, has led to a reduced environmental footprint.
  • Feed efficiency plays a key role in reducing environmental impacts. Due to advancements in nutrition and bird breeding, young hens now require 48 percent less food during the rearing period than they did in 1960 and the laying hens have 42 percent better feed conversion. Using 1960 technology to produce the 2010 egg supply would have required 78 million more hens, 1.3 million more acres of corn and 1.8 million more acres of soybeans.
  • Advancements in hen housing, such as improved building ventilation, temperature control, better lighting and a more secure housing environment, help to ensure that hens are protected from disease-carrying wildlife
  • These techniques have been widely adopted by egg farmers across the country, leading to healthier hens with lower mortality and higher rates of egg production
  • In addition, advancements in the development of preventative medicine to eliminate avian diseases have greatly improved hen health.
  • Manure management has played a role in minimizing the egg industry's environmental footprint. The vast majority of manure from laying hens is recycled into crop production, providing nutrients for plants, contributing to healthy soils, saving energy and reducing commercial fertilizer use.
With the growing U.S. population and egg demand on the rise, egg farmers play an important role in providing an abundant and affordable source of high-quality protein.

"The U.S. population has increased by 72 percent over the past 50 years, but efficiencies in egg production have enabled us to meet the demands of the growing population with just 18 percent more hens, while also leaving a smaller environmental footprint," said Bob Krouse, an egg farmer for Midwest Poultry Services in Indiana. "Egg farmers are now in a position to help fulfill the growing need for an affordable and nutritious source of protein in an environmentally responsible manner."

Egg farmers are dedicated to providing safe, nutritious food while maintaining the highest quality care for their hens. At the same time, farmers understand the importance of protecting the land, water and air for their communities and future generations, and they are always looking to identify ways for continued improvement. Efforts to further improve feed efficiency, hen housing facilities and manure management will facilitate even greater environmental footprint reductions in the future.
Published in Poultry
November 4, 2013, Portage, WI – The public will have multiple opportunities to comment on air quality issues related to proposed electric power plants — fueled by gas mainly from cow manure — at the Brakebush Brothers site near Westfield in Marquette County and the New Chester Dairy near Grand Marsh in Adams County.

A public hearing on the projects has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at the New Chester Community Center, 629 Mason St., Grand Marsh.

In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is accepting written comments. READ MORE

Published in Poultry
November 4, 2013, Richmond, IN – Plans to build a chicken manure storage building in southwestern Wayne County are getting a second look from county officials.

A building permit for the manure storage building on Neuman Lake Road was issued to a farmer near Brownsville last summer, planning and zoning director Steve Higinbotham said. On the application, it was stated the facility would be for personal use in farming operation, but more recent information has indicated the farmer also may sell manure to other farmers, Higinbotham said. READ MORE
Published in Poultry
October 15, 2013, Conord, NH – A Dunbarton farmer will have the chance to explain his proposal for a 27,000-square-foot poultry barn on his property at a planning board hearing. And for Dunbarton residents feeling foul about the 20,000 birds the building would house, the public hearing will be a chance to voice their concerns.

The farmer has asked the town’s permission to build the barn, which would be 46 feet wide and 588 feet long, near the center of his 85-acre farm. He already has a contract to sell the chickens’ eggs to an organic egg processor, which has provided the design for the building. READ MORE
Published in Regional
September 4, 2013, Kenton, OH — A Kenton company is suing one of Ohio’s biggest egg producers, saying it violated its contracts.

The 10-count lawsuit alleges that LandTech had a long-standing contract to pick up and spread all poultry manure and a newer contract to pick up, pasteurize, dry and redeliver egg shells. The Kenton company states in the lawsuit that it invested more than $700,000 in eggshell cleaning and drying equipment and expanded facilities to handle an expected increase in poultry manure. READ MORE
Published in Poultry
August 28, 2013, Baltimore, MD – Maryland officials have pulled back a proposed regulation aimed at reducing farm runoff polluting the Chesapeake Bay after chicken growers warned it could cripple the state's lucrative poultry industry if imposed now.

The state Department of Agriculture announced it had withdrawn its request to make immediate changes to rules governing where farmers may use chicken manure to fertilize their crops, two days before a scheduled legislative hearing on the proposal. READ MORE
Published in State
May 16, 2013 – Federal environmental programs have drastically overestimated the poultry industry’s contributions to water pollution, according to a University of Delaware-led study that could trigger changes to river and bay cleanup plans around the country.

James L. Glancey, a professor in the university’s Bioresources Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments, said that a multistate study, based on thousands of manure tests, found that actual nitrogen levels in poultry house manure are 55 percent lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s decades-old, lab-based standards. READ MORE 
Published in Poultry

November 8, 2012, Wilmington, DE — The Delmarva peninsula’s poultry industry is up and running after emerging from Superstorm Sandy relatively unscathed.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture said there was no significant flooding or poultry house damage, and that chicken farmers are generally in good shape. Feed trucks are back on the road, and poultry processing plants have resumed operations. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

October 23, 2012, Erie, KS – Kansas Farm Bureau is sponsoring a special southeast Kansas producer meeting concerning nutrient management for poultry litter on Oct. 26 at the Neosho County Courthouse in Erie, KS. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and will include officials from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Conservation.

The agenda includes information on cost-share programs, proper utilization of poultry litter for fertilizer, technical assistance and addressing nutrient levels in priority surface waters. Speakers will include local landowners, Kansas State University extension personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel and more. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

August 27, 2012, Charleston, WV – An international poultry breeding company said it wants to ban litter-based fertilizers around its West Virginia farms because it can allegedly spread disease that may harm birds and people.

Aviagen wants to ban the spreading of chicken manure within a three-mile radius of its turkey farms, which has some local farmers up in arms. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

June 22, 2012, Willows, CA – County approval of a proposed chicken manure composting facility near Artois, CA, is on hold for at least 90 days while issues are studied.

Applicant Scott Cooper, president of Jack Spence, Inc., asked to scale back his processing permit from up to 50,000 tons of manure a year to 10,000 following the hearing.

Cooper is seeking a conditional use permit to put in a composting facility for poultry litter. The goal is to use poultry litter that consists of 50 percent chicken manure and 50 percent bedding material such as rice hulls, straw or sawdust, county planning officials said. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

May 22, 2012, Yucaipa, CA – A deal between the city of Yucaipa and a local egg rancher could end a stink over the spreading of chicken manure.

The city council voted three to two May 14 to approve a memorandum of understanding with Carter Street rancher Jim Hoover to halt what Hoover calls thin spreading of wet manure from 300,000 chickens housed in a specially equipped coop. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

March 19, 2012, Annapolis, MD – Days after Eastern Shore environmental advocates argued in Annapolis for toughened regulations to reduce manure pollutants in waterways, the Eastern Shore’s representative in Congress says the economy would take priority over the Chesapeake Bay because, frankly, clean water costs money.

Currently at issue is whether the MD Department of Agriculture should clamp down, now or later, on the volume and frequency of spreading manure across farm fields – or to hold off on new regulatory measures until other states catch up with Maryland. On the Lower Eastern Shore alone, the decision would impact an estimated 300,000 annual tons of poultry waste. READ MORE

Published in Regional

March 13, 2012, Baltimore, MD – Although the environmental lawsuit of the Waterkeeper Alliance versus the Hudson farm, near Berlin. MD, and poultry company Perdue is on a court docket in Baltimore for April 16, a federal judge wrote in March that the parties could try again to resolve the dispute and not go to trial.

The judge also had some harsh words for Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips, the executive director of Assateague Coastal Trust, who instigated the lawsuit. READ MORE

Published in Poultry

As the U.S. biomass thermal and power industry continues to expand, new technologies reporting higher efficiency solutions are being introduced.

Published in Companies

Researchers from North Carolina State University and West Virginia University have developed a new technology

Published in Swine

Dec. 16, 2011, Salisbury, MD - Perdue AgriBusiness, Inc., in partnership with Fibrowatt LLC, has submitted a proposal to the state of Maryland in response to the State's Clean Bay Power Request for Proposal. The Fibrowatt/Perdue AgriBusiness proposal calls for a combined heat and power biomass boiler operation to be located at the Perdue AgriBusiness Zion Church Road complex near Salisbury, Md. The proposed facility will provide 10 megawatts of electricity to the state as well as up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam to the Perdue AgriBusiness complex. The renewable fuel source will be a combination of poultry litter, layer hen manure, wood chips and other locally sourced biomass.

The proposed project is another step forward in Perdue's commitment to environmental responsibility through its renewable/alternative energy initiatives, including solar power installations, biomass energy partnerships and a litter-to-energy initiative. Perdue AgriBusiness currently uses fossil fuel to generate steam, which provides heat during various steps of soybean processing and poultry feed manufacturing. For the past two years a team has conducted a thorough review of available technologies to convert poultry litter to energy, meeting with more than 45 companies and evaluating five technology categories in the course of its review.

"Our conclusion at this point is that the only commercially viable technology is combustion. The other technologies, while promising to varying degrees, represent a significant risk of project failure compared to combustion," said Perdue AgriBusiness President Dick Willey.

The Clean Bay Energy program makes sense based on Perdue AgriBusiness' track record of providing alternatives for land application of poultry litter and experience in alternative energy projects. In 2001 Perdue AgriBusiness established a subsidiary, Perdue AgriRecycle, LLC, which converts poultry litter to a pasteurized, pelletized organic fertilizer. This provides poultry growers with an important management alternative for their litter. Since its establishment, Perdue AgriRecycle has shipped approximately 12 million pounds of nitrogen and 7.5 million pounds of phosphorous (P2O5) out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through Perdue AgriRecycle, Perdue AgriBusiness is the largest buyer of poultry litter in Maryland.

In addition, Perdue AgriBusiness has experience in a variety of alternative/renewable energy projects, sourcing feedstock and/or partnering with other companies on biodiesel, ethanol, solar and biomass projects. Perdue AgriBusiness currently has two biomass boiler operations (using wood, peanut hulls and cotton gin waste) in North Carolina. These are combined heat and power operations providing process steam and electricity.

Fibrowatt brings unique and extensive experience in the combustion of poultry litter to the project. Fibrowatt's management team has been developing and operating poultry-litter-fueled power plants for a total of 21 years. The company originated in the United Kingdom with the original poultry-powered plant consisting of a small boiler fueled on a test basis with poultry litter to provide heat to a local distillery. Following this first design, a 13 megawatt poultry-litter-fueled power plant in Eye, UK (the world's first) was constructed, and two other subsequent plants (14 megawatt and 39 megawatt) were constructed before the team came to the United States.

In 2007, Benson, Minn., became home to the United States' first operating poultry litter plant, the Fibrominn Biomass Power Plant. The 55 megawatt power plant combusts more than 700,000 tons of litter and biomass annually.

"We are excited about this project because it supports agriculture and the environment," said Willey. "It supports both animal agriculture and crop production in Maryland by providing poultry growers an additional management alternative for their poultry litter yet keeping litter, a great fertilizer and soil amendment, available to crop producers for appropriate application.

"Environmentally, this project will remove a significant amount of poultry litter from land application, thereby eliminating the risk of any portion of the nitrogen or phosphorous in this litter or manure from finding its way into the Chesapeake Bay watershed," Willey said.

"The economic and environmental benefits resulting from the proposed project align the interests of the State, environmental groups and the agriculture sector with the U.S. EPA's goals of improving the Chesapeake Bay," said Jim Potter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Homeland Renewable Energy Inc., the parent company of Fibrowatt. "This proposed project will continue our successful legacy of developing, financing, constructing and operating power projects that combust poultry litter.

"Our Fibrominn plant, located less than 1/2 mile from the city of Benson, Minn., has never received a single complaint from the local Citizens Advisory Panel. This is testimony to the importance we place on being a good neighbor in any community in which we locate."

Benson Mayor Paul Kittelson welcomes visitors who would like to see for themselves. "We extend a warm welcome to any local citizen in Maryland who wants to come to the City of Benson and tour our biomass facility. Fibrowatt has been a great neighbor and great addition to our community."

The facility will incorporate the use of the most advanced state-of-the-art emissions control systems that have ever been applied to a biomass power plant. The project will, by converting power and steam production from a fossil fuel to a renewable fuel, reduce green house gas emissions by an estimated 165,000 tons of CO2 annually. The ash produced from the combustion of poultry litter will be a valuable fertilizer by-product which will be marketed for broad application in the agricultural sector.

About Perdue AgriBusiness

Perdue AgriBusiness ranks among the top U.S. grain companies and is committed to helping its customers prosper with flexible, forward-thinking solutions for agriculturally based products from a uniquely trusted name. Perdue AgriBusiness is a direct exporter of U.S. agricultural commodities through the company's deepwater port in Chesapeake, Va. Perdue AgriBusiness merchandises grain and oilseeds, processes soybeans, operates protein conversion and blending plants, trades a wide variety of agricultural commodities and refines edible oils. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Perdue AgriBusiness ventures touch such diverse opportunities as bio-energy, organic fertilizers and specialty livestock feeds.

About Fibrowatt

Fibrowatt LLC is a developer, owner and operator of poultry litter fueled power plants. The management team of Fibrowatt pioneered the production of renewable energy from poultry litter. Fibrowatt is part of the Homeland Renewable Energy Group ("HRE"), based in Pennsylvania, which specializes in producing energy from agricultural wastes, including poultry litter, cattle manure, hog manure and food wastes. The HRE engineering team has successfully overcome the various challenges inherent in the combustion or anaerobic digestion of natural by-products of farming and animal husbandry to produce the cleanest possible biomass energy. In 2011, HRE announced the launch of a creative and new emissions control system, which will enable biomass power plants, including the Clean Bay Power Project, to achieve extremely low air emission levels -- ensuring that the project will comply with all applicable state and federal regulatory requirements.

Published in Combustion

Agronomy professor Dr. Brad Joern, who has made a name worldwide as an expert on nutrient management, has been selected to receive Purdue University’s 2011 Spirit of the Land Grant Mission Award.

Published in Poultry
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