Sussex Chicken Industry

Sussex County Online User Forums: Sussex County Delaware Discussion Forum: Sussex Chicken Industry
By bill winters on Thursday, April 21, 2005 - 12:31 pm:

I was surprised to learned in doing research for an Earth Day discussion that Sussex Co has long been the largest chicken producing county in the US, which also makes it a huge waste product producer. I also learned that people working in plants typically earn minimum wage and contracted growers carry large debt while earning only a living wage if that, while the large companies like Perdue, Allen etc reap huge profits. Is this really true or did I get some sort of propaganda?

By Someone on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 08:20 pm:

Why not contact Councilman Vance Phillips, a very busy chicken farmer. He may be able to enlighten you on that.vphillips@sussexcounty.net

By john on Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 08:21 pm:

I suppose most business are in the business for profit. I am now 52, but my parents raised poultry and farmed. The poulty allowed them to have a paycheck during the winter and spring to make ends meet. It helped pay for their childrens college expenses. However there are new issues facing modern growers. In the past growers cleaned manure out of houses each fall. Now some growers only do a total clean out their houses once every 4 to 5 years. This is due to the lack of wood chips or sawdust. Equine and pressboard industry are competing with the poultry industry for the wood products. The sawdust or wood chips are spread in the floor of chicken houses to absorb the waste of poultry. This is a responsibility of the poultry companies to provide. But the high cost of this product adds to their cost...You know the rest of the story. The problem with old manure is the ammonia issue. Ammonia lower the immune system in the birds, adds to the smog and acid rain concerns. However the crops we grow utilizes the nutrients from the manure farmers produce and it is good for the good bugs in the soil. Farmers manage manure much better now than in the past due to government programs that pay for storage and equipment that allows for uniform spreading. Manure helps add to the organic matter content of soil, and maintains the nutrient and water holding capacity of the soil. Too much of the nutrient issue is blamed on chicken and grain growing industry. Think of all the waste treatment plants located in towns and citys that only break down the organics, (the solid part of manure) which lowers the BOD, Biological Oxygen Demand. The treatment plants do not remove nitrogen, phosphorus etc. It is discharged to the bays. Some towns are looking at deep well injection for the future. Go search the web regarding deep well injections and you will find problems, expecially in Florida.

However I believe Sussex should not be able to keep increasing the number of poultry while farmland is being eaten up by development. Sussex County needs to look hard at rural land use issues. I do not know what the answer is.. Farm Districts etc. but action is needed now.


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