Let’s learn from others’ experiences
FROM: LYNN ORNDORF NORTH EAST
In a recent Cecil Whig article regarding the proposed chicken “farm,” of course Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder would be for the enterprise. Agriculture is his livelihood. However, I doubt very much that he would appreciate a neighbor of his building four huge chicken barns in his backyard!
According to the paper, the chickens have an eight-week life cycle, seven of which would be spent in the barns here in Zion. That amounts to over a million chickens a year being raised on that property. I don’t care how improved technology is today — that is a lot of chicken waste to deal with. Officials say that because the waste is dry, it does not smell. What happens when it is spread on the fields and gets rained on?
Charles Hayes, manager of the Cecil Soil Conservation District, says that the business falls into the definition of a family farm and not a factory farm because the family will live and work on the property and the chickens won’t be slaughtered there. As a neighbor, I don’t really care about the difference in the definition between family and factory farms — just the vast size of the operation makes it undesirable!
It is destined to change the quality of life for the surrounding community, and not for the better! Mr. Bartenfelder’s and Mr. Hayes’ homes are not being devalued; their health and the health of their families are not being threatened; their wells are not in danger of being contaminated; and they aren’t the ones who will be dealing with the smells or any of the problems.
Perdue officials have said that they are looking to have 180 new chicken houses to raise their organic chickens. Half of these will be old barns that would be retrofitted to suit their needs while the rest of the barns would be new construction. An unidentified county farmer wants to do a six-house project while another one is waiting to start the permitting process. The Zion chicken houses are just the beginning!
Documentation from communities near other longstanding chicken farms shows the negative effects to the surrounding community. Let’s learn from their experiences. We don’t want to become a statistic. We don’t want a huge chicken “farm” in our neighborhood!