Anaerobic digesters can use poultry litter to produce energy to heat poultry houses, John Logan, a broiler producer in Mississippi told environmental managers attending the 2010 Environmental Management Seminar. The annual conference is sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Poultry & Egg Institute.

Logan, a contract producer for Tyson Foods, operates eight broiler houses. He described how the anaerobic digester takes litter and produces methane gas. The methane gas generates electricity used to heat his broiler houses. “The process reduces my energy costs and also provides high quality compost and liquid fertilizer,” he said. Logan was recognized by USPOULTRY as a Family Farm Environmental Award winner at the 2010 International Poultry Expo.

Another session featured an executive perspective of environmental management from Bob Billingsley, director of development and engineering for Sanderson Farms. “In site selection criteria, water supply is a major factor, considering both surface water and ground water,” Billingsley said. “Other site criteria must include wastewater discharge options, including direct discharge and receiving waters. Also, land application is an important factor, looking at both land availability and soil characteristics.”

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He added that Sanderson’s environmental management procedures include sampling and monitoring, daily logs for process controls, and daily conference calls and a weekly executive committee report on environmental issues.

James Banks, Hogan and Hartson law firm, presented a legal review and outlook. He told the environmental managers that “this may be the most sobering time ever” for the poultry industry from an environmental perspective. He cited the confluence of environmental activists and the Obama administration’s attempts to require permits all poultry farms under the Clean Water Act. He said that the Environmental Protection Agency has four priority issues: increased enforcement, CAFO regulation, ammonia emissions and emergency reporting, and nutrient management, referring to all of them as “daunting.”