AmericanFarm.com

Perdue Farms lauds Hogan’s choice to stall PMT

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
Senuir Editor

SALISBURY, Md. (Feb. 3, 2015) — Perdue Farms is hailing the delay in implementing the Phosphorus Management Tool, enforced by Gov. Larry Hogan, as an opportunity to get it right.
Steve Schwalb, Perdue Farms’ vice president of environmental sustainability, said the delay of the proposed new nutrient management regulations “provides a good opportunity to step back and be sure the regulation is designed in a way that is appropriate to meet the needs of crop farmers, poultry growers and the environment.”
Hogan mandated the delay when, within hours of his taking the oath of office, he pulled the PMT document from its publication in the Maryland Register, its final legislative step before becoming law.
Hogan, who had been highly critical of the PMT regulations during his campaign, said the whole process of phosphorous management needed further, essentially that we can’t refine the process unless we know how it works in the first place.
Perdue’s Schwalb, in a statement issued late last week, took the same stance.
“We think it is possible to do that by bringing all stakeholders together in a collaborative effort, and we would be happy to be a part of that,” the release read. “We hope that this period of reflection will result in an approach based on sound data and science, and that recognizes the progress already being made and the joint responsibility we all share for protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. “
Perdue has a long history of working to ensure that any excess nutrients are managed appropriately, Schwalb said.
“Since 2001, we have invested more than $50 million in Perdue AgriRecycle, which has recycled or relocated 1.5 billion pounds of poultry litter, equivalent of 2.6 million 50-pound bags of lawn fertilizer,” he said.
And since 2008, Schwald continued, more than 50 percent of the nutrients recycled were removed from the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 
“We continue to explore other environmentally responsible uses for poultry litter to be able to provide our farm partners additional options for managing their litter should they need them to meet current or future regulations,” Schwalb said.
Meanwhile, sources say that legislation is being — or has been — drafted by two Democratic lawmakers to reinstate the PMT regulations in the format of legislation, which may be difficult to stop in the General Assembly and thus would require a Hogan veto.
Efforts to confirm that with the two lawmakers were unsuccessful.