Perdue Farms in the US has signed an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency under which it will provide training and other assistance to help poultry farmers comply with guidelines for controlling runoff and managing litter disposal.
Salisbury-based Perdue Farms said the company is expanding a pilot program on the Eastern Shore to cover all of its chicken producers. The four-year initiative will eventually cover more than 1,600 Perdue producers in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The agreement covers producers in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, a company spokeswoman said.
Perdue says its poultry processing facilities will also implement an environmental management system. Perdue spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said the initiative will not cover the company’s turkey producers or its chicken breeding operations.
Under the pilot program, trained flock supervisors visited each farm with a checklist and examined how farmers complied with nutrient management regulations and best management practices, noting where improvements were needed. The initiative will also include an awards program to recognize poultry farms that demonstrate environmental excellence.
Under the agreement, Perdue has modified the feed used by its growers to cut levels of phosphorous in waste produced by the chickens. The company has also agreed to limit the use of arsenic compounds to cases where other efforts to maintain the health of flocks has failed.