County CAFO com­mit­tee holds first meet­ing

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRAD KRONER bkro­ner@ches­pub.com

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

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRAD KRONER

Keith McKenica and Cindy Smith of the Calvert Neigh­bor­hood Al­liance dis­cuss CAFO reg­u­la­tions dur­ing the com­mit­tee’s first meet­ing.

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