Coming on the heels of the Tennessee Valley Authority suffering the nation’s worst spill ever at a coal power plant and after a second spill occurred at another TVA plant at the Widows Creek Fossil Plant, it is welcome news that poultry producer Perdue Farms Inc. and the U.S. Environment Protection Agency inked an agreement, Perdue Clean Water Initiative, to help protect the waters in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast from contamination.
The agreement will enable the company to implement a program to provide training, assessment and related assistance to farms that produce poultry for the company. By signing this agreement, the company has shown that its commitment to restore and protect surface and groundwater is paramount.
The runoff from improperly managed poultry farms can have an adverse effect on water quality, as well as destroy plant and fish life. Perdue contract growers must be in compliance with regulatory requirements and reduce their impact on the local waterways. The firm has reinforced its commitment to environmentally responsible practices by signing this agreement. The company has also published its Environmental Stewardship Information, which describes the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and current activities as well as summaries of selected environmental partnerships. Perdue Farms was among the first poultry companies to implement a dedicated Environmental Services department. The company was also the first poultry company to develop a large-scale alternative use for surplus poultry litter, operating the first-of-its kind facility to convert poultry litter into organic fertilizer product. Perdue AgriRecycle has handled more than 500,000 tons of litter in its first seven years of operation.
The agreement with the EPA focuses on key areas. Perdue has agreed to employ agricultural practices that ensure environmental protection and a sustainable agricultural industry. The company agreed to utilize feed management techniques to minimize phosphorous content of poultry litter and minimize the use of substances deemed by both parties as harmful. The company currently utilizes phytase in its feed formulation and has adjusted the composition of its feed to minimize the phosphorous content.
The agreement also focuses on environmental management systems. Perdue plans to implement such a system at all its processing plants using as a model the ISO 14001 based program that has been developed at its Salisbury processing plant. The agreement calls for a deviation notification process, which can be identified during the company’s assessments of producers.
The agreement with the EPA is the result of a pilot program in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia operated by the EPA and Perdue since 2007. Data from that study helped form the basis for the broader project environmental management program covered by the agreement. The project is expected to run four years.