Larry Hogan, governor-elect of Maryland, promised poultry farmers that his "first fight" as governor will be to scrap rules aimed at curbing the amount of phosphorous from chicken manure running into the Chesapeake Bay. Hogan, a Republican, will take office in January.
"We won't allow [the rules] to put you out of business, destroy your way of life, or decimate your entire industry," Hogan told the Maryland Farm Bureau (MFB) convention.
The rules Hogan spoke of were announced in November under the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley and Maryland Agriculture Secretary Earl F. Hance. The rules, known as the Phosphorous Management Tool (PMT) seek to curtail farmers’ use of poultry manure as fertilizer, which was said to be a source of phosphorous that gets into the Chesapeake Bay, according to a column in the Baltimore Sun.
MFB in November had written to Hance to voice its opposition to the PMT.
“If implemented, the PMT restrictions will dramatically limit the use of locally produced organic fertilizer to much of the land on the lower Eastern Shore and in many other areas of the state. This limitation will have far reaching negative economic impacts on individual poultry growers, dairymen, grain operators, support businesses and local communities,” MFB President Patricia Langenfelder wrote.
“Our members strongly believe that it makes no sense to impose this burden on farmers when at 130 percent we are the only sector to reach our bay cleanup goals in the most recent analysis and are, in fact, doing more than our fair share.”