Environmental Protection Agency officials have informed Maryland farmers in a series of meetings recently on the Eastern Shore that they intend to enforce federal pollution rules regarding chicken manure, reports the Associated Press. Farmers will have to get permits if any manure from their flocks is washing off their land into drainage ditches and streams.

State officials say more than half of Maryland's 800 poultry farmers have filed notices to get the permits.

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Farmer David Wood of Caroline County was quoted by AP as saying that the process was "a lot of red tape." He said he would do what's necessary to comply, but he predicted that some smaller farmers might have to get out of the business.

The EPA has said that agriculture is the biggest source of nutrients that degrade the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.