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Lewes, Delaware
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December 11, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 11, 1998
 

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18 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 11 - December 17, 1998 Nutrient committee to finalize work next week By Jim Cresson After months of weekly work- group sessions that extended these farmer's normally long days well into the night, members of the Delaware Agricultural Industry Advisory Committee on Nutrient Management are finalizing their recommendations on how the state's poultry growers can volun- tarily improve their management of nutrient-rich chicken manure. Committee chairman David Baker, who just two months ago said his group was "nearing over- load" with their complex respon- sibilities and the short timeline they had to complete their task, was heartened Wednesday, Dec. 9, by the reports read to him out- lining the four workgroups' draft recommendations. "We're almost there, and it's been a long, hard process," Baker said following the reports from the chairmen of workgroups on science and technology, compli- ance assurance, revenue ,ind edu- cation. "We've taken the broad view on a lot of tough issues, and we've covered a lot of ground." Phil Cherry, a special assistant to Gov. Tom Carper, also heard the reports Wednesday evening and agreed that the 10 farming community members had risen to the challenge. "I'm very im- pressed with what I see here," Cherry said. "I think the governor will be pleased." Cherry asked that each of the four workgroups prioritize their recommendations, picking the top immediate priorities as a founda- tion for the governor to use in his state of the state address in Janu- ary. Gov. Carper appointed the advisory committee in September and charged it with finding ac- ceptable ways that poultry farm- ers can improve the state's water quality by changing the way they have traditionally disposed of the 600 million tons of nutrient-rich poultry manure produced annual- ly on chicken farms. The science and technology workgroup studied such new ideas as genetically altering corn to produce less phosphorous in poultry manure. It also looked at alternative means of disposing of the manure, such as incineration, gasification, pelletizing and com- posting. The compliance assur- ance workgroup studied how best to convince farmers they must be- gin best management practices on their farms and test carefully for nutrients in their soil and poultry manure. It recommended develop- ing a multi-level certification process so farmers and commer- cial companies can be trained to properly analyze and apply the nutrient-rich manure they use as fertilizer. The revenue workgroup looked at what compliance will cost farmers and suggested ways to use federal and state cost-shar- ing programs to offset that ex- pense. The education workgroup studied how to get the message of compliance out to the farming public, the government and the general public. They recommend- ed tours of environmentally friendly farm operations, the use of farm organizations to help spread the message and a concert- ed effort to reach the farming youth through 4-H, Future Farm- ers of America and in schools. The recommendations read in full committee were many, some for short-term implementation and some for long-term use. As Cherry noted, each recommenda- tion had merit, but not all could be considered immediate top priori- ties. "If you can consolidate your workgroup recommendations and then prioritize them, you can se- lect the top ten to give the gover- nor as your immediate goals," said Cherry. Baker said that could be done by Dec. 17, two days after the governor's deadline. Cherry said that would be acceptable, and he again congratulated the group on its work. Those final recom- mendations will be selected at a meeting Dec. 16, at the Depart- ment of Agriculture, South DuPont Highway, Dover, at 7:30 p.m. Poultry virus adds new glitch to meetings By Jim Cresson Nothing has been easy during the three months of advisory committee meetings on how to change the way poultry farmers operate. And it was no surprise last week when the issues were further complicated by the news that a common but contagious viral respiratory disease has struck the Delmarva poultry industry. In discussions on how to get farmers together at the annual Farm Bu- reau meeting and explain the advisory committee's recommendations Continued on page 20 NewHotne00; from the 50's to 100's p!M_00n!0_N POT-NETS , OfLo I Iliock Near the Oemn. 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