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Court victory for Maryland family poultry farmers
A federal court judge in Maryland ruled in late December in favor of Perdue Farms’ poultry grower Hudson Farms in a case filed against them by the Waterkeeper Alliance, which failed to prove the poultry growers violated the Clean Water Act by polluting the Pocomoke River.
Originally filed in March 2010, the civil suit accused Hudson Farms and Perdue Farms of violating the Clean Water Act based on a pile of material on the farm that was assumed to be chicken manure. After inspection by Maryland’s Department of the Environment confirmed that the pile was biosolids from municipal sewage sludge, the Hudsons were asked to move the pile and they complied.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman welcomed news of the court ruling.
“America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe and nutritious food. We work to protect and enhance the environment, while responsibly caring for our animals, the public and our neighbors,” Stallman said. “This victory for the Hudson family should serve as a wake-up call for activist groups that our nation’s courts should not be used for unsubstantiated attacks on hard-working farm and ranch families.”
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Vice President of Public Policy, Adam Sharp said that because of the similarities in challenges and opportunities in nutrient management in Maryland and Ohio, OFBF financially supported the defense of Hudson Farms, as did other state Farm Bureaus.
“Water quality issues are a good example of the increasing importance of the need for farmers to be involved in continually reviewing and improving our practices, but it is also important to protect the rights of property owners against frivolous lawsuits such as this,” Sharp said.