Md. farmers are doing their share for Chesapeake Bay

The recent commentary by representatives of Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay regarding poultry waste regulations was wrong in many ways ("No more half-measures," June 18).

They are correct that more people and their pollution will stress our environment. More people will reverse the progress that agriculture is making. TheU.S. Environmental Protection Agencyreports that agriculture has made tremendous progress in reducing nutrient contributions to the Chesapeake Bay. Urban and suburban sectors are getting worse.

They are wrong to describe agriculture's programs as a "voluntary, collaborative approach." They imply that there are no Maryland rules for the proper use of animal manures and fertilizers, but they know better. Maryland's 1998 law created far-reaching requirements for farmers — among America's most restrictive. Ask any farmer. They are not "mostly voluntary" as claimed.

Some area states do not have a strong program like Maryland, but this group wants readers to think that Maryland has a weak program. The facts don't support that allegation.

They mistakenly claim that agriculture lags behind other sectors in reducing pollution. Throughout the watershed, agriculture has reached about half of its 2010 pollution reduction goal. Not good enough, we agree. But the urban/suburban sectors went backward. Whose record is better, agriculture achieving nearly 50 percent of the goal or urban/suburban going backward by 90 percent?

They mention progress being made by sewage treatment plants, but they fail to mention the volume of human waste that escapes through leaking pipes before reaching the plants. They fail to mention the 1.4 billion gallons of escaped wastewater reported to the state last year.

They call for chicken manure to have the same "disposal" rules as human sewage. Chicken manure does not contain the toxins, household cleaning products, unused medications, man-made steroids, reproductive hormones, oil and grease and other products often disposed of through sinks or toilets. No wonder human waste needs more treatment.

Farmers are making improvements, and the Chesapeake Bay is benefiting. On-the-farm pollution prevention practices installed today might not show benefits for several years, but they will eventually. The current course of action is working. Let's not drive already heavily regulated farms out of business. Without farms, water quality would be even worse.

Andrew McLean, Centreville

The writer is president of Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • What about Pa. manure?
    What about Pa. manure?

    On an almost recurring basis lately, The Sun has devoted itself to bringing to everyone's attention the Eastern Shore poultry industry's polluted runoff flowing into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13). Attention should be directed to the Amish...

  • Hogan can protect farms and open space
    Hogan can protect farms and open space

    Congratulations to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on his inauguration. Mr. Hogan ran a terrific campaign, and we all look forward to his leadership on one of the most important roles, safeguarding the lands and waters of this beautiful state.

  • New rules needed to protect Eastern Shore waterways

    After talking about it for years, Maryland finally has proposed long-overdue regulations on phosphorous pollution from animal manure in the Chesapeake Bay ("Hogan vows to fight farm pollution rules," Dec. 8).

  • Big Ag must be held to account for bay pollution

    Dan Rodricks' arguments for protecting the Chesapeake Bay from pollution from chicken farms could have been even stronger ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13).

  • Kamenetz is pandering on stormwater fees
    Kamenetz is pandering on stormwater fees

    Thank your for your recent article, "Reduced stormwater fees sought," (Jan. 17) and the editorial covering the same topics ("Backtracking on the bay," Jan. 22). Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz seems to be pandering to special interests and positioning himself for higher office. His...

  • Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup
    Md. leaders protect funds for bay cleanup

    Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with Rep. Steny Hoyer, deserve our thanks for securing funding in the recent omnibus appropriations bill to keep Maryland on track to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams ("For better or worse, spending bill passes," Dec. 15).

  • Excess phosphorous is killing the bay

    In the days following Dan Rodricks' column "Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor" (Dec. 13), your paper has been flooded with letters opposing the phosphorus management tool (PMT) regulations and opposing Mr. Rodricks position. On the surface it would seem that both letters in...

  • Rodricks wrong on bay pollution

    It is time for those writing for The Sun's editorial pages to check their facts. Columnist Dan Rodricks writes that poultry farmers are allowing their chicken manure to run into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13.

Comments
Loading