Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS RELEASE

DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS RELEASE

May 8, 2012

Additional financial assistance offered for poultry manure relocation

DOVER – Delaware farmers can soon receive more assistance to move excess poultry manure off their farms to land that can benefit with the addition of manure or to alternative uses, reducing nutrient loading in certain areas and helping improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Delaware Nutrient Management Commission recently voted unanimously to increase the cost-share funding for manure transport, which helps support the cost of moving manure from their farms to areas or projects that can use it, thus reducing nutrient loading in certain areas.

“This is great news for farmers and the environment, allowing Delaware to move more manure out of sensitive areas,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, an ex officio member of the Commission. “The additional reimbursement will especially be of help to farmers dealing with the rising cost of fuel.”

The decision to raise the funding level was possible thanks in part to $600,000 in funding for relocation work from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, via the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and a continuing reduction in the volume of poultry manure being moved through the program. The funding must be used over a four-year period, by 2016.

“The environment gets a big boost through this, and farmers find it more attractive to move their manure out of nutrient-rich areas,” said Delaware Nutrient Management Program Administrator Larry Towle. “Moving this high-phosphorous manure from areas where there’s an excess into areas where it can be used spreads out the impact on waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Towle said the volume of manure transport being supported by the program has gradually been decreasing because of changes in farm management practices and farmers arranging independent farm-to-farm transport.

The new rates will take effect June 1.

For manure being moved from farm to farm, or from a farm to an alternative use project such as the Perdue AgriRecycle fertilizer plant, the rate will increase to 16 cents per ton mile, with a cap of $18 per ton, from 10.8 cents per ton mile, with a cap of $13.50 per ton. That is an increase of 48 percent, and restores the reimbursement rate to the 2006 level.

For manure being moved from an alternative use project off the Delmarva Peninsula, the rate will increase to 6 cents per ton mile, with a cap of $10 per ton, from 5.4 cents per ton mile, with a cap of $9 per ton. That is an increase of 11 percent, and restores the reimbursement rate to the 2008 level.
The relocation program also receives funding from the state of Delaware General Fund and poultry companies. More than 58,000 tons of excess manure was moved out of high-nutrient areas through Delaware’s relocation program in fiscal year 2011, with more than a third of that tonnage going to alternative use projects such as Perdue AgriRecycle or mushroom growers in Pennsylvania. More than 660,000 tons have been relocated since 2006.

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