EPA Should Recognize Poultry Industry Programs’ Improvements to Water Quality

October 24, 2012
Washington, D.C.


Sherrie Rosenblatt, National Turkey Federation
(202) 898-0100 ext. 7227, srosenblatt@turkeyfed.org

Richard Lobb, National Chicken Council
(202) 296-2622 ext. 119, rlobb@chickenusa.org

Gwen Venable, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association
(770) 493-9401, Gvenable@poultryegg.org

Hobey Bauhan, Virginia Poultry Federation
(540) 433-2451, hobey@vapoultry.com

A poultry industry representative told a House Agriculture Subcommittee that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should recognize the poultry industry’s tools and programs that are improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and across the nation.

Hobey Bauhan, president of Virginia Poultry Federation, told the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry that family poultry farms in Virginia for more than a decade have expanded their conservation practices to enhance water quality.

 “The results of these actions are reflected in EPA’s estimates that between 1985 and 2005 nutrient loads from agriculture decreased to the Chesapeake Bay, while nutrient loadings from developed lands increased by 16 percent,” Bauhan said.

Representing Virginia Poultry Federation, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Bauhan told committee members that heavy-handed federal mandates are unnecessary because states have adopted effective regulations to improve water quality.  Virginia has adopted some of the most expansive manure management regulations in the country for poultry farms, he said.  Nevertheless, EPA is setting sweeping and unprecedented federal mandates aimed at agriculture under its Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) program.

Bauhan also criticized EPA’s approach to setting TMDL targets.  “EPA’s TMDL targets are based on flawed modeling assumptions about manure management practices,” Bauhan said.  “In one instance, the agency estimated that 15 percent of all manure from poultry farms is lost during storage and runs off into waterways in the Chesapeake.  That number has no basis in actual practice and grossly exaggerates EPA’s estimated loadings of litter run-off from poultry farms.”

Bauhan said EPA should focus on what actually works and what is economically feasible.

“Imposing burdensome mandates based on questionable data only imposes more costs, paperwork and burdens on family farmers, while achieving few real benefits for water quality,” Bauhan said.

Bauhan’s testimony is available on the House Committee on Agriculture’s website, http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/statements.html.

About the National Chicken Council
The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

About the National Turkey Federation
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the $14 billion turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members' products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products.

About U.S. Poultry and Egg Association
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is an all-feather organization representing the complete spectrum of today's poultry industry, with a focus on serving member companies through research funding, education, communication, and technical assistance. Founded in 1947, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is based in Tucker, GA.

About Virginia Poultry Federation
Virginia Poultry Federation, founded in 1925, is a nonprofit trade association that promotes the interests of Virginia’s poultry and egg industry through public and government relations and educational programs.  Virginia’s largest agricultural sector, the poultry industry contributes about $1.5 billion annually to the Virginia economy; supports the livelihood of some 1,100 family farms; and employs more than 10,000 people.