Sussex County Delaware

Local Headlines ...

Perdue Building Nutrient
Pelletizing Plant near Laurel

Poultry giant Perdue Farms Inc. will build a nutrient pelletizing plant between Laurel and Blades to turn hundreds of tons of chicken litter into fertilizer pellets for use around the world.

The news was announced in a joint press release from Perdue and Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper's office.

The 210-acre tract off Route 13A will be the site of a 100-foot by 630-foot fully enclosed facility that will be odor-controlled and dust-controlled, according to the release. The plant will be operated by Perdue-AgriRecycle.

Each day, the pelletizing plant will process 220 tons of chicken litter into fertilizer pellets that will be railed off the Delmarva Peninsula and marketed domestically and internationally under the brand name MicroStart60.

Nearly 20 new positions will be created at the Perdue plant. Gov. Carper's office said it expects a number of cottage industries to spin off from the plant.

Gov. Carper called this one more step in the state's battle against the hazards nutrient runoff poses to water quality, especially in Sussex County, one of the nation's top producers of broiler chickens.

"Because the quality and safety of drinking and recreational waters in Delaware is important to all of us, we must redouble our efforts to protect and enhance those water supplies," Gov. Carper said.

"Since 1993, I have encouraged market-based initiatives to help clean up our environment while fostering economic development and job creation. I appreciate Jim Perdue's willingness to work with us and his commitment to this initiative."

Jim Perdue is the chairman and CEO of Perdue Farms, the third largest poultry producer in the country.

"We looked very closely at several counties within the peninsula as possible locations for our first pelletization facility and it's been a difficult decision to make," said Perdue. "If all proceeds as we hope, our intent is to locate a second facility in the Delmarva region."

Other steps in Delaware's efforts to clean up its waterways have included a June nutrient management bill aimed at reducing nutrient runoff into waterways and the formation in August of a 15-member Nutrient Management Commission chaired by Sussex County dairy farmer Bill Vanderwende.

The Nutrient Management Commission is charged with developing a state-wide Nutrient Management Program.

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