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Organic poultry growers receive Environmental Stewardship Award

by | Feb 1, 2019

John and Linda Brown, who raise chickens for Perdue Farms’ Coleman Organic division, were recognized with the 2018 Delaware Environmental Stewardship Award during Delaware Ag Week for their efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff. Pictured, from left, are Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kenny Bounds, John and Linda Brown. (Photo courtesy Delaware Department of Agriculture)

HARRINGTON, Del. — Poultry farmers John and Linda Brown were recognized during Delaware Ag Week for their efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff with the 2018 Delaware Environmental Stewardship Award.
The Brown’s L&J Farm, located in Harrington, raises chickens for Perdue Farm’s Coleman Organic division. Certified Organic poultry houses have an attached area where the birds can spend the daylight hours and the houses are equipped with windows to let in natural light.
The Browns also harness solar energy to power the farm and utilize an electric car;  woods provide a barrier against noise and odors;  runoff is treated by a series of storm-water ponds; and all the houses and the manure shed have concrete pads, which are kept clean.
The Environmental Stewardship Awards were presented Jan. 14 to the Browns and three other runner-ups by DDA’s Nutrient Management Administrator Chris Brosch. Each year, the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission partners with Delaware’s poultry integrators to sponsor the Environmental Stewardship Awards.
“Each of the companies nominates a Delaware poultry grower that excels in preserving and enhancing environmental quality on their farms,” Brosch said. “These farmers practice excellent manure management, proper composting of mortalities and accurate record keeping. They also use enhanced conservation practices on the farm as a whole.”
Runners-up were:
Chad and Joanna Carpenter of East Piney Grove Farm have been raising chickens since 2010. The couple grows for Mountaire Farms, with a capacity of 300,000 birds. The Carpenters have installed heavy use pads, fenced off the composter to keep vultures and foxes away from the composted mortalities and redesigned the drainage swales to prevent runoff from going into nearby tax ditches. They also have planted a vegetative buffer of trees to help with odors.
Ken and Nicole Wilkins of Felton, grow for Amick. In 2015, they built three poultry houses on their “Funny Farm” homestead, along with a manure shed and channel composter. The storm water engineering includes a large storm-water pond to treat runoff from the production area. A screen of trees has been planted to assist in containing odors. Fly traps are used throughout the farm and near the composter to reduce these pests.
Carol Johnson of Bridgeville, who grows for Allen Harim, raises 90,000 chickens and tills twenty-five acres on Loockerman Farm. The farm has two manure structures, has heavy use pads installed on the poultry houses, and utilizes solar energy to help power the poultry operation. In addition, cover crops are utilized as a conservation practice on the cropland. Johnson has been a 4-H leader for more than 25 years.
The Browns receive $1,000, a plaque and sign for their farm.
The runners-up receive $500, plaques and signs.

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