Layton, Willey honored for environmental stewardship

Managing Editor

HARRINGTON, Del. (Jan. 17, 2017) — Poultry farmers Ted Layton and Scott Willey were recognized for their efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff with the 2016 Delaware Environmental Stewardship Award.
Layton and Willey had primarily been residential home builders, operating Layton Builders until the economic downturn forced them to look at ways to diversify.
“We decided to branch out and poultry was one thing we invested in,” Layton said after receiving the award at the Delaware State Fairgrounds during Delaware Agriculture Week.
Layton and Willey are co-owners of T&S Farms near Milford, growing broiler chickens for Allen Harim Foods on a 44-acre farm.
They have four poultry houses, with a capacity of 134,000 birds per flock. Their stewardship efforts include installing a manure shed and composter, a stormwater pond, and will plant a tree buffer. They focus on weed control, lane maintenance and pad cleanliness and have all manure transported by Ellis Farms.
Willey said keeping a neat appearance on the farm is just as important to them as the environmental benefits of their best management practices.
“If you want to go somewhere and look good you’ve got to dress good,” Willey said.
They also said emphasis on training farm employees in good stewarship practices and to “treat it as if it was their own,” has been key to maintaining a neat appearance.
“These farmers are great examples of how Delaware’s farm families are wonderful stewards of our land and water,” said Chris Brosch, Delaware’s Nutrient Management Program administrator. “It is due to their hard work and dedication that has made Delaware a leader in nutrient management efforts.”
Runners-up were:
• Alvin and Norma Warner of Milford, Del., who grow for Perdue Foods growing the Coleman Organic Program, with a capacity of 62,000 organic broilers. They have created 15 acres of riparian buffers and wildlife habitat, planted tree buffers, and installed heavy use pads and a composter.
• Tracey Hill of Laurel, Del., who grows for Mountaire Farms, with a capacity of 116,000 broilers. He has grassed waterways and all pipes lead to a fish-stocked pond that treats stormwater from the production area; and
• Jim Nguyen of Georgetown, who grows for Amick Farms, with a capacity of 110,000 broilers. He has installed heavy use pads, planted trees to reduce exhaust emissions, graded swales to direct stormwater into a one-acre pond, planted apple trees and berry bushes for wildlife, and uses freezers for mortality.
Layton and Willey received $1,000, a plaque and a sign for their farm. The runners-up received $500, plaques and signs.