County CAFO committee holds first meeting
ELKTON —The first meeting of a committee to make a regulatory recommendation on poultry-based concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) was, more or less, a relitigation of the past year’s debate and discussion over CAFOs
Most of Tuesday’s 90-minute meeting focused on discussing goals, setting parameters for discussion and discussing background information on the issue. Mediators also presented a draft piece of legislation — “a starting point” — introducing zoning changes, setback regulations and acreage limits.
The county debate over CAFOs started last summer when dairy farmer Galen Horst received pre-approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment to operate a poultry CAFO in Zion, not far from the Calvert neighborhood.
“Times are changing,” said Horst, who attended the meeting. “We can’t farm like we did 100 years ago.”
CAFOs, also referred to as chicken houses, are basically large-scale, indoor chicken- raising operations housing tens of thousands, evens hundreds of thousands, of chickens. Horst’s CAFO will have around 150,000.
The goal is to create an economy of scale. By producing a greater output with more efficiency, farmers could make greater profits.
One farmer in the audience asked whether anyone would work for 25 cents an hour. “Neither do we,” he said. Lisa Cameron, a mediator with Community Mediation
See CAFO Page A15
Keith McKenica and Cindy Smith of the Calvert Neighborhood Alliance discuss CAFO regulations during the committee’s first meeting.