Adopted at the conclusion of the

December 8 - 9, 1998 Meeting of the

Poultry Industry Environmental Dialogue








This report is a "living" document and it is expected that members of the

Poultry Industry Environmental Dialogue participants will meet again in

18 to 24 months to assess whether any updates are needed.

Further, every attempt was made to avoid conflicts between this

document and the attachments; however, in the event a discrepancy or

contradiction appears between the two, this framework document

will supercede the information in the attachments.

Copy of document provided courtesy of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.


Protection of the environment and in particular the protection of the nation's water quality is important to the poultry industry. As the industry has developed and grown over the last several years, the industry has recognized its role in and has taken proactive steps to protect the environment. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are encouraging a voluntary approach to handling non point source issues related to animal agriculture. The voluntary strategies outlined in this overall program will ensure that the industry is taking a lead role in promoting the protection of the environment and water quality through the implementation of Litter Management Plans.

The implementation of Litter/Manure Management Plans by all independent and contract poultry producers will ensure that the nutrient value of the poultry litter is managed in an environmental friendly fashion. It would be difficult for the poultry industry to dictate to private contract producers and farmers how they should manage the nutrients on their whole farm operation. However, it is entirely feasible for the poultry industry to accept their contribution to the overall nutrient issue through a Litter/Manure Management Plan. The development and implementation of Litter/Manure Management Plans in poultry production operations will ensure that the litter/manure is properly used on the land for its nutrient value or is transferred to an alternative use program.

The industry has instituted both company and academic research on feed formulation to ensure better utilization of the feed by the bird, encouraged and in some cases required the use of litter storage facilities and dead bird composters, the modification of watering devices in the grow out operations to eliminate liquid run off and ensure optimum litter control and the implementation of improved ventilation to reduce mortality. While these steps have been taken on a voluntary basis by the industry, the industry recognizes that additional measures need to be taken to ensure the continuation of and the enhancement of the nation's environmental protection and water quality improvement efforts. It is anticipated that the program outlined in this document will build on the existing strengths of the poultry industry and will assist in the obtainment of the national water quality goals set forth in the Clean Water Act. At the same time, it builds in the sustainability of the poultry industry.

The poultry industry is like a three legged stool made up of the companies, the individual producer and the American grain farmer. Each is dependent on the other. The strategies outlined in this document focus the companies' technical and financial assistance, in cooperation with various government and private agencies, with the environmental stewardship of the individual poultry producer and the grain farmer. It also indicates to the general public and to the government regulatory agencies that the industry has its own expectations when it comes to environmental protection.

This environmental framework and implementation strategy for poultry operations is a voluntary program. It is not designed nor intended to replace, substitute, or supersede for any local, state, or federal statutory or regulatory program. Moreover, each company must enter into contractual and other commercial relationships independently. Companies may not agree upon individual contractual terms, nor may any industry association require that companies incorporate or implement any of the specific recommendations embodied in this voluntary program.

Poultry litter/manure are excellent sources of organic nutrients and can be incorporated into most farming operations when properly managed. For poultry producers, the proper management of litter/manure is a major consideration in their daily operations. Whether the material is utilized as a nutrient source on land controlled by the producer, or it is provided as a nutrient source on other lands or is offered as a material in an alternative use process, the proper management of the litter/manure is essential. Storage, transportation, application, disease prevention and proper documentation are just a few of the items that need to be factored into the litter/manure management decision making process.


It shall be the policy of the poultry industry to develop producer contract language and incorporate into their company operations a Litter/Manure Management Plan. This policy is effective on the date of adoption and should apply as follows:

1. All new producers that are brought into a company's live production program, after the adoption date of this policy, should have a Litter Management Plan in place prior to the placement of birds. This includes producers who change integrators.

2. Should a producer add capacity, the Litter/Manure Management Plan should be modified prior to the placement of additional birds.

3. All existing producers within the company's live production program should be on the following recommended implementation schedule, or as soon as existing long-term arrangements can be modified.

• producers signed after January 1, 1993 and before adoption date of the policy should have a Litter/Manure Management Plan by January 1, 2001

• producers signed after January 1, 1988 and before December 31, 1992 should have a Litter/Manure Management Plan by January 1, 2003

• producers signed after January 1, 1983 and before December 31, 1987 should have a Litter Management Plan by January 1, 2005

• producers signed before December 31, 1982 should have a Litter/Manure Management Plan by January 1, 2008.

4. All company owned operations should have a Litter/Manure Management Plan by January 1, 2001.

It is the intent of the Litter Management Plan to address the nutrient value of the litter/manure produced in the poultry operation and to effectively plan for its use. The Litter/Manure Management Plan should be designed, written and implemented as either a component of or within an approved Nutrient Management Plan meeting or exceeding NRCS standards or as a stand alone document that utilizes third party land application or alternative use programs.

Proper litter/manure management is an essential component of a successful poultry operation. Many elements make up a Litter/Manure Management Plan. Elements that should be included in a Litter/Manure Management Plan are:

Proper storage

* length of time

* facility

* siting of storage facility

Record keeping

* amount of litter

* clean out time/schedule

* third party land application agreements if applicable

* alternative use agreements if applicable

* name of alternative facility

* location of alternative facility

* type of alternative use

* land application amounts; fields applied to; when applied; crop grown; crop yield

Mortality plan

* composter facility or other legally approved disposal method

* catastrophic die off plan

* incorporation of mortality into land application or alternative use plan

Nutrient value for land application

* time of sampling

* nutrient value for nitrogen; nutrient value for phosphorus



Proper Storage

At the time litter/manure clean out is conducted, the litter/manure is often required to be placed in storage. While litter storage does present an additional expense, it is a useful tool in a comprehensive Litter/Manure Management Plan. Litter/Manure storage facilities can be divided into two basic categories, temporary structures and permanent structures. It is desirable to have a permanent structure for litter/manure storage.

Whether the structure is temporary or permanent, the siting of the facility is important. The following general guidelines should be implemented in siting and construction of a litter storage facility:

• easy access and terrain that keeps site grading to a minimum

• a 100 foot buffer strip should be maintained from wet areas, drainage ditches, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes or other surface water bodies

• permanent structures should have a base or floor of concrete or impermeable clay

• permanent structures should be designed in accordance with the USDA NRCS guidelines or the equivalent

• temporary storage should be covered with plastic or similar material to prevent runoff

Litter stored for a period of three months or longer should be kept in a permanent storage facility. Litter that is utilized in a land application program and is applied directly from a poultry production house during a clean out operation does not have to have storage capabilities.


Recordkeeping is an essential and a critical part of a well run Litter/Manure Management Plan. Accurate records are important as a tool in the development of future plans and assist in demonstrating the effectiveness of the plan. Records should be maintained for at least three years. Records should be kept at the farm site.

Records should be maintained in the following areas:

* amount of litter produced/stored

* clean out time/schedule

* third party land application agreements if applicable

* alternative use agreements if applicable

* amount of litter/manure shipped to the alternative use program

* the name of the alternative use program

* the location of the alternative use program

* the type of alternative use

* land application

* soil test results

* amount/rate of manure applied

* fields applied to

* when applied

* crop grown

* crop yield (where applicable)

Examples of recordkeeping documents are provided as a reference. Exact copies of these example recordkeeping forms are not required to meet the recordkeeping portion of a Litter/Manure Management Plan.





Mortality Plan

Proper management of mortality is a routine component of poultry production. Effective mortality management assists in disease prevention, nutrient management and environment control. The use of composting, rendering or incineration or other methods that are legally approved are acceptable methods of normal mortality management. Catastrophic mortality may be handled by one of these methods or with burial that meets all federal, state and local regulations. However, dead bird burial for normal mortality should be eliminated by January 1, 2002. Any mortality plan should be incorporated in the overall Litter Management Plan.

Nutrient Value of the Litter

Litter/manure should be sampled for its nutrient value. Sampling of litter should occur no greater than 90 days prior to land application. The nutrients of principle concern are nitrogen and phosphorous. This is especially critical for any land application litter management program. Records should be kept of all nutrient tests, including date of test, type of litter sampled and the nutrient value of the litter/manure.


When transporting litter/manure to an alternative use location, to a land application site or to any other location using the public roads, trucks or other vehicles shall be covered and/or be contained well enough to prevent loss of material.


Prior to the implementation of a litter/manure management plan, the producer shall notify the appropriate State Agency that a litter/manure management plan has been developed and will be implemented.



It shall be the policy of the poultry industry to investigate and implement, where feasible, economically sensible alternative uses for litter other than direct land application of litter/manure for its nutrient value. Companies may engage in individual research, facilitate academic research, fund entrepreneurial enterprises or enter into joint venture or other business partnerships.

Goals of any alternative use program should include:

• economically sound business principles

• financial incentive for individual producers to participate

sound environmental uses


The use of poultry litter/manure as a direct source of nutrients in an agricultural setting is an excellent method of recycling nutrients back through the crop or animal production chain. However, there are some lands which cannot responsibly receive poultry litter due to existing high levels of nutrients. The nutrients of concern are primarily nitrogen and phosphorous. Economically sound alternative uses of poultry litter/manure need to be implemented. These alternative use programs can be established on a regional basis, a statewide basis or at the individual company level.

It is critical to note that the issue of alternative uses of poultry litter/manure does not fundamentally change the issue of nutrients or pollution. To date, any alternative use program merely changes the form and the environmental media in which the nutrients need to be dealt with. Both nutrients of concern, nitrogen and phosphorous are elemental and cannot be destroyed. Changing the form of the nutrients may allow for more feasible uses such as golf courses, landscaping areas, energy production and nutrient recovery.

In the case of burning litter from poultry operations for BTU value and generating electrical power or steam, the residual ash contains highly concentrated levels of elemental phosphorous. Emissions from the burning process could also contain elevated levels of NOx, a leading contributor to air pollution. Even if the NOx is "scrubbed" out of the emissions, the nitrogen is contained in the waste water stream of the air control equipment. The use of poultry litter as a fuel source in electrical generation is an extremely capital intensive alternative use method.

Two other often suggested alternative uses of broiler litter are composting and pelletization. Both of these methods still rely on the litter for its nutrient value. Whether the compost is used in organic farming or as a soil amendment in garden soils, the nutrients go back on the land. Whether the pelletized litter is used as a fertilizer source in growing grain crops or in landscaping, the nutrients go back on the land. In either case, the effective management of the elemental nutrients is essential.


It shall be the policy of the poultry industry to engage in, facilitate, or in some other fashion, research and where economically feasible and without any detriment to the health of the bird or to the bird to effectively metabolize the feed formulation, implement nutrient reduction strategies in feed formulation. This can be accomplished by the addition of enzymes, reduction in nutrient concentrations, modifications in existing formulations or by any other reasonable method.

In a effort to quantify the effectiveness of this nutrient reduction strategy, the industry shall establish a baseline measurement of nutrients in feed stocks. On an annual basis, until January 1, 2005, the industry will measure the reduction of nutrient levels in feed produced. This information shall be reported in a unified national report submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Assistant Administrator, Office of Water.



It shall be the policy of the poultry industry to aggressively facilitate the education of producers, service personnel, other segments of the poultry industry, government regulators, and the general public on the environmental issues related to poultry production and processing. This education should include the value of poultry litter/manure and mortality and their proper management and their impact on the environment. Education and training are also considered to include innovative technology transfer, and research outreach programs.

The industry can implement this strategy through broad based interaction with the state land grant universities, other institutions of higher learning, government agencies (USDA Resource Conservation Service), poultry associations and public service announcements.


Implementation of any new program, either voluntary or regulatory, will require additional funding. The poultry industry has historically used several avenues, both private and public, to finance the implementation of new programs. This environmental framework and strategy is no different.

Public Funding

Producers will continue to utilize, to the fullest extent possible, the federal and state cost share funding programs for water quality Litter/Manure Management Practices.

USDA will continue its support for and more favorably, increase its support and request additional funds under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQUIP), the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the Small Watershed Protection Program (PL 83-566).

The poultry industry fully supports the President’s Clean Water Action Plan as it relates to funding of capital improvements needed by producers to implement water quality related litter/manure management practices.

EPA should, at a minimum, continue its support for and more favorably, increase its support and request additional funds under the Clean Water Act 319 Program (Non point Source Management Program) and the Clean Water Act Waste Water Treatment and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF).

EPA should encourage the States to evaluate the use of state funds, both matching and non-matching, to redirect state spending to agricultural non point source efforts.

All interested parties should be seeking additional funds to support poultry industry environmental management efforts, including efforts to remove barriers in Federal and state legislation to allow use of available funds for construction of needed facilities, use of Transportation Department buffer and wetland conservation funds, and other funds that may be available to meet environmental objectives.

Private Funding

Integrators will continue to fund projects through their traditional channels and will increase funding as needed to meet the national goals of water quality improvement and protection. Avenues of funding available to the integrators include, but are not limited to:

• direct payments to the producers through the standard payment channels

• providing low interest loan programs for producers to meet their portion of the cost share match

• funding research programs to investigate and implement nutrient reduction in feed formulations

• funding nutrient management and best management educational programs for the producers

• funding local and regional education, research and technical assistance programs


A voluntary program needs to have a strong component of compliance assurance. To the extent industry has committed to have each producer and company owned operation operate under a Litter/Manure Management Plan, it is incumbent on the industry, both the integrators and the individual producers, to do their part in compliance assurance.

Under this voluntary framework and implementation strategy, there are three components to compliance assurance. Each must function to have a successful program.


Each producer should have a Litter/Manure Management Plan, in accordance with the time schedule noted above in the section, titled: "Litter/Manure Management Plan."

Each producer should report, on an annual basis, to the appropriate state agency:

• the amount of litter/manure removed from the growing houses

• the amount of litter/manure land applied for nutrient value

• the amount of litter/manure transferred for alternative uses


Poultry Integrators

Each integrator should facilitate the education and training of their grow out personnel, producer service personnel or any other integrator employee that interacts on the farm with the producer, in the principles of litter management.

The integrator service personnel should request to verify if each producer has the required Litter/Manure Management Plan and that the producer has submitted an annual report to the appropriate state agency.

The integrator should report, for each of the integrator owned operations, on an annual basis, to the appropriate state agency:

• the amount of litter/manure removed from the growing houses

• the amount of litter/manure land applied for nutrient value

• the amount of litter/manure transferred for alternative uses

Regulatory Agencies

The regulatory agencies reserve the right to inspect the producer's Litter Management Plan and any records relating to the Plan during reasonable and routine business times and within the scope of the agency's statutory authority.

The regulatory agencies reserve the right to investigate any and all complaints related to the producer's operation or the integrator's operation within the agency's statutory authority.





A. Report of the Location and Siting Workgroup.

B. Report of the Litter/Manure and By-Products Management Workgroup.

C. Report of the Wet Processing Workgroup.

D. Report of the Alternative Use Workgroup.

E. Report of the Education, Training and Communications Workgroup.

F. Report of the Research and Innovative Technologies Workgroup.










Questions about this document may be directed to

the National Chicken Council at 202-296-2622






A Procedure for Siting of Poultry Farms

The following procedure should be considered in selecting sites for poultry facilities.

Farms should be willing to implement a "Water Quality Management Plan" to protect the water resource. A Water Quality Management Plan is identified in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide section 3. It protects the identified resource for sustained use.

In a typical Poultry production unit consideration should be given to the following:

* Houses above 100 year flood plain

* Protection of intensively used areas such as farmsteads or production houses

* Litter storage

Protection of hydraulic connections to ground water (well heads, sink holes, rock outcrops etc.)

* Proper disposal of on farm mortality

* Properly utilizing animal waste

* Nutrient management

* Proper grazing/grassland management

* Impact on water quality (sensitive areas)

* Other production animals

In cropland areas, consideration should also be given to the basic erosion concerns and tillage practices.

A site specific water quality management plan consists of a unique set of conservation practices planned for the conditions, resources and production goals of the land user. Practices should be installed according to NRCS standards. A listing of national NRCS technical standards, including practice codes, can be found on the NRCS Homepage at "www.nrcs.usda.gov" under "Technical References". NRCS state and field offices adopt and supplement these standards, as necessary, to accommodate local conditions. These localized standards can be found in Section IV of the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) which is maintained in each NRCS field office.

Committee members: Bob Morgan, Earl Smith, Ron Mullikin, Jackie Easter, Ed Justice, Norman Robinson








Watershed Planning

As environmental pressures continue to increase the poultry industry will do its part with regard to overall watershed planning. We expect others to do likewise. Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) will be used to monitor water quality in a particular watershed.

We recognize that concentration of large numbers of poultry farms and an increase in the size of individual farms has created a situation in some areas where there are more nutrients in the manure than can be utilized by the row and forage crops grown in the area. On such areas, application of manure may need to be reduced or stopped for a time to remove excess nutrients from the soils through crop uptake. In locations where manure cannot be applied, alternative locations to apply the manure or alternative uses will need to be found. These alternatives can rarely be addressed by individual farmers. Group action, led by Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in cooperation with the poultry industry and other stakeholders, is needed to address such watershed or community problems.

Manure Management

The Poultry Industry Environmental Dialogue’s recommendations on manure management are based on the premise that it is easier to prevent pollution and other environmental problems than it is to correct them after they occur. This section of the dialogue report provides an overview of manure management issues that should be considered by every poultry producer. Specific recommendations for action are printed in bold face type.

Poultry manure is a valuable organic soil amendment and an important source of plant nutrients. When properly managed these materials contribute to successful crop and forage production and improved soil quality. When improperly handled, stored, or utilized the organic matter, nutrients, and biological organisms in the manure can cause water, air, and soil pollution, and threaten human health. Fortunately, most poultry farmers, and the companies they are affiliated with, properly manage manure and protect the nation’s natural resources.

There are some irresponsible producers, however, who have caused environmental degradation as a result of improper handling, storage, and application of manure and the inappropriate disposal of dead birds. Mis-management has caused odor, water quality, and both public and animal health problems. Industry and government actions need to be taken against those that carelessly cause damage to the environment.


Litter/Manure Management Plan

Planning is necessary for proper manure and byproducts management. Manure management plans, which are part of nutrient management plans, guide poultry producers and others in the handling, storage, and utilization of manure, and help identify when different or additional actions need to be taken to reduce the risk of pollution.

A manure management plan should be site specific and be written for a maximum of five years. The plan should be immediately revised and changes implemented if the facility increases in size or changes its method of manure management. These plans should be developed by the poultry producer with assistance, as needed, from qualified company staff, government agency specialists, and private consultants. Manure management plans should be voluntary, and not required as part of a regulatory program. A good plan, fully implemented, should, however, help a poultry producer minimize adverse environmental impacts, maximize the benefits of using manure, and meet the requirements of a regulatory program.


All poultry producers should develop and implement a manure management plan according to the schedule outlined on page 3 of the main body of this report.

The most important objectives addressed in a manure management plan are (1) safe handling and storage of the material to ensure that pollutants are not directly released into the environment, and (2) nutrient management to minimize undesirable nutrient loss, and to balance the nutrient content of the manure with crop needs.

We believe the following components should be considered in the manure management planning process: facility location, in-house manure and input management, mortality management, clean-out, transportation, storage, and land application.

In-house manure and input management. Where manure is stored in the production facility, floors and walls should be constructed to ensure that manure is retained in the houses and that nutrients and other potential pollutants do not come into contact with ground water. It is essential in all facilities that water systems do not leak and increase the amount of moisture in the manure above what is planned.

Adding certain materials to the manure while it is in the poultry house may reduce loss of nitrogen and the solubility of phosphorous. Maintaining the nitrogen in the manure increases its value as a fertilizer. Reducing ammonia in the production facility may improve bird health and productivity, and reduces the potential for air pollution from the production facility. Reducing the solubility of phosphorous reduces the likelihood that it will be carried in runoff from fields after land application.

Feed additives may improve the ability of the birds to digest nutrients in the feed, thus modifying the nutrient content of the manure. For example, various compounds are being studied as a way to increase the birds’ digestion of phosphorous, thus reducing the phosphorous in the manure.

It is our hope that through in-house manure management, feed additives, and manure treatments, poultry producers can produce a manure with a nutrient content that is in balance with crop needs.

Mortality management. A certain percentage of birds will die during a production cycle. Dead birds should be properly disposed of shortly after removal from the production houses. With the exception of catastrophic mortality due to events such as an avian influenza outbreak, management of mortality generated by our poultry operations will be done through rendering, composting, and incineration. Catastrophic mortality may be handled with burial that meets all federal, state and local regulations. Dead bird burial for normal mortality should be eliminated by January 1, 2002.

Clean-out. "Clean-out" is the term used to describe the removal of manure from a poultry house. The manure management plan should take into account the amount of manure to be removed and the time of removal so that sufficient land is available for proper land application shortly after removal, or to ensure that storage facilities are available for the quantity of material that must be handled. Whenever possible, manure removal should be planned so that fresh manure, containing the maximum amounts of nutrients, can be immediately applied to meet crop or forage plant growth needs.

Transportation. Effective immediately, we ask all who transport poultry manure to cover or sufficiently contain manure when being moved along public roads and highways. to prevent spillage or loss of the manure/agricultural waste. This will prevent accidental spillage of manure and improve the industry’s biosecurity efforts.

Manure storage. We encourage the use of litter storage facilities by poultry producers and others who routinely handle manure. Storage facilities must be built on an impermeable base to prevent seepage of manure constituents to ground water. Facilities should be protected from flooding by proper site selection and/or appropriate floodwater diversion. Storage facility size should be sufficient for the amount of manure that may be removed from the production house, but because of field, weather, crop stage, or other conditions cannot be safely applied on crop or pasture land until some later time. This may be the volume equivalent to a complete clean out or an accumulation of manure resulting from several partial clean outs. Litter storage facilities also allow management of manure for alternative uses. All siting requirements outlined by the "Location and Siting Workgroup" shall be followed.

Temporary out-of-doors storage of dry manure is acceptable if it is protected from precipitation and wind. Such storage will usually be in or near the fields where the manure will be land applied. Such storage sites should be located away from drainage ditches (including road ditches). Manure in temporary storage should be protected from runoff or flood water. Poultry producers should heed these recommendations and should ask all persons who accept dry poultry manure to pay close attention to where it is stored and to cover it prior to its use.

Land Application and Management of Lands Where Manure is Applied

Land application is the most common, and usually most desirable method of utilizing manure because of the value of the nutrients and organic matter. Basic requirements of the manure management plan to ensure that material applied on the land does not cause pollution include (1) calculations to determine the proper amount of manure to be applied to meet, but not exceed, crop nutrient needs, and (2) land management practices to prevent runoff and erosion of material applied to crop or pasture lands. As noted on page 3 of the main body of this report, a manure/litter management plan should be designed, written and implemented as a component of or within a nutrient management plan meeting or exceeding NRCS standards and specifications.

Nutrient management. The primary purpose of nutrient management is to balance the nutrients required to grow the planned crop with the nutrients that are already in the soil and those that will be applied in manure and other types of fertilizer. Nutrient management should address how much manure and other fertilizer should be applied, when, where, and by what method. Timing and method of application should be done to prevent the loss of nutrients to ground or surface water and to minimize loss of nitrogen to the atmosphere.

Manure and agricultural by-products shall be applied in conformance with a plan developed following NRCS nutrient management policy current at the time of plan development. It is best to avoid applying manure in areas of considerable human activity unless the manure can be applied at a time or in a way that will reduce possible effects such as odor on the human activity. It is best to advise neighbors and others that may be affected by manure application when such activities will occur. It is important to be a good neighbor.

In order to develop and implement an effective litter/manure management plan as part of an overall nutrient management plan, Ssoils should be tested initially (within one year of plan development) and every five years thereafter. Manure should be tested initially, and then a minimum of at least once every 5 years, unless there is a significant change in animal rations or operation management (for example, a change in the size or type of birds that are being raised). Separate soil samples should be taken where there are known differences in the soil that could lead to unintended pollution (such as an area of particularly shallow soil) or observed differences in past production. The amount of manure applied on these areas should be adjusted to address site specific problems that are indicated by the soil samples.

Generally, nutrient management should be based on crop nitrogen needs because this is the most sensitive nutrient for crop production. A problem with manure as a fertilizer is the nutrients are not generally balanced with crop needs. When manure is applied to meet crop nitrogen needs, excess phosphorus and potassium are almost always applied. This imbalance is increased if much of the nitrogen has been lost during manure handling and storage, or will be lost between the time of land application and crop growth.

Some nutrients applied in excess of crop needs can accumulate in the soil, and at certain levels may cause water pollution. High soil phosphorus levels have been linked to negative water quality impacts. On such fields, application of manure may need to be reduced or stopped for a time to remove excess phosphorus from the soils through crop uptake or by other management actions. Nutrient management should be in conformance with applicable NRCS standards or, if more stringent, state or local criteria. In locations where manure cannot be applied, alternative locations to apply the manure or alternative uses will need to be found.

Because of the serious implications for manure management related to the possible accumulation of phosphorus, we ask that USDA and EPA and others work together to develop a (1) better understanding of how phosphorus and other nutrients function in the environment, (2) national guidance for phosphorus management, and (3) uniform approach for determining environmental impacts of phosphorus.

Manure application equipment should be calibrated on site at least once a year, for each type of material/manure applied, to ensure that the quantity of material being applied is what is planned.

Conservation practices. Proper land management following manure application can increase infiltration and nutrient movement into the soil, and reduce runoff and loss of nutrients to overland flow. Conservation practices that should be included as part of a land application plan are conservation tillage, grazing management, buffers, and other practices that will prevent runoff, erosion, and the washing of organic matter and nutrients from fields. Taken together with nutrient management, these practices will help to ensure that the right amount of nutrients are applied to the field, that the nutrients stay on the field, and that any potential pollutants that might be washed from the field are captured before they reach a stream or lake.

Land application of manure and other nutrients can also impact ground water quality. Proper timing, rate, and frequency of application to maximize crop uptake are the primary management practices used to reduce this impact. However, other practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, residue management and maintenance of proper soil pH can also help. Application of manure and other nutrients in close proximity to environmentally sensitive areas that might easily contribute to ground water contamination such as sink holes, wells, gullies, ditches, surface inlets or rapidly permeable soils should be avoided. All setback distances required by state and local regulations shall be followed.

Record Keeping

Records should be kept by the poultry producer of the amount of manure removed from poultry houses, when the manure was removed, and how it was utilized; the amount stored, the dates of storage, and how it was utilized; and, when applied to fields under the producers control, the amount applied to each field, its nutrient content, and the date of application.

The effective date to implement a comprehensive record keeping program for manure management by all poultry producers in the United States will be in conformance with the schedule noted on page 3 of the main body of this report.

Application of Manure Off of the Poultry Farm

Much of the manure produced on a poultry farm is sold or given to other farmers and applied on their farms. While the poultry grower has limited control on how the manure is utilized on other farms, the farmers purchasing and land applying manure should be encouraged to follow the same management practices that are applied on a poultry farm where manure is produced. The purchasing or receiving farmer should be encouraged to address issues associated with storage, transportation, nutrient management, and field or pasture management.


The purpose of this section is to outline the practices that a poultry farmer and others utilizing poultry manure as a soil amendment should consider as they develop a site specific management plan. Each plan must address the needs of the particular farm. With effort by all involved in the poultry industry and a good manure/litter management plan that addresses on- and appropriate off-farm issues, every poultry farmer can protect and even enhance the environment.













January, 1999


Section 1 Introduction

Section 2 Principles

Section 3 Overview

Section 4 Scope

Section 5 Registration

Section 6 Location

Section 7 Public Participation

Section 8 Operation, Design, Construction & Mgmt

Section 9 Land Application

Section 10 Emergency Response

Section 11 Record Keeping

Section 12 Operator Certification & Training

Section 13 Closure

Section 14 Inspection, Enforcement, and Nuisance Defense

Section 15 Financial & Technical Assistance

Section 16 Research






Section 1


The Poultry Industry Environmental Dialogue was initiated in early 1998 to address environmental concerns and issues associated with poultry production. The efforts of the dialogue were broken down into nine (9) work groups, as follows:

1. Financing, Technical Assistance, and Cost Sharing

2. Manure and By-product Management

3. Location and Siting

4. Alternative Use

5. Education, Training, and Communication

6. Wet Processing

7. Incident Response

8. Compliance Assurance

9. Research and Innovative Technologies

Wet processing was placed into a separate work group in recognition of the fact that poultry and egg production has two distinct categories:

1. Dry broiler, breeder, and hen operations (facilities with dry manure handling systems)

2. Wet hen operations (facilities with wet manure handling systems, i.e. lagoon systems)

This document summarizes the major environmental issues and supporting rationale for wet processing facilities.

Section 2


In preparing this document, six basic principles have been followed:

1. Regulatory requirements must be environmentally protective and economically viable.

2. Recommendations must be based on science and facts and must be focused on real problems and solutions that actually work.

3. Regulatory requirements should encourage consistency while providing reasonable flexibility to accommodate local needs and site specific conditions.

4. Requirements should be clearly articulated and concisely explained so that producers know how to comply, regulators know what to enforce, and the public knows what to expect.

5. Accountability for environmental results is the responsibility of the producers to government and government to the public.

6. Regulations should not be a barrier to incentive-based programs or to technical innovation.

Section 3


This document generally addresses:

1. Full public participation as a part of the approval process of all new or expanded operations.

2. Location recommendations, including setbacks for lagoons and other facilities where manure is stored and for areas where manure is applied to land.

3. Standards for the design, construction, and operation of all facilities.

4. Restrictions on land application rates and methods, including recommendations on soil and manure testing, to prepare nutrient utilization plans, and in certain circumstances, to employ a phosphorous-based standard.

5. Certification of operators and training of personnel.

6. Emergency response planning.

7. Provision of financial guarantees by operators.

8. Recordkeeping and inspections.

9. Closure recommendations for manure and wastewater storage facilities.

10. Various forms of financial and technical assistance to enable wet processors to conform with the recommendations.

11. Additional research on certain environmental and public health questions which Dialogue participants believe have not yet been adequately answered.

Section 4


Appropriate and sound environmental management should apply to all commercial wet processing facilities, regardless of the size of the operation.

All wet processing facilities, regardless of size, have a responsibility to protect the environment. Further, no direct correlation between the size of a wet processing operation and its environmental impact has been clearly identified. Small, poorly located and poorly managed operations can have significant environmental effects while large, well located and properly managed operations can have negligible effects. It is important to account for the cumulative effects of all activities in a watershed. If it is decided to establish a threshold for regulation, based on size of an operation, it is recommended that the authority apply this framework to:

1. Any operation that is covered by existing Federal, State, or Local environmental laws.

2. Any operation that is an actual or potential contributor of pollutants.

3. Any operation that expands above its established size threshold.

Sound environmental management requirements should be applied immediately to all new or expanded wet processing facilities. Existing operations should have a minimum of five years to meet all the recommendations of this document, and should undertake the use of BMP’s, and certain interim compliance planning and reporting steps before that time.

New or expanded operations are the most able to meet recommendations through the prior planning and investment in the operations. Existing operations, however, will need time to adjust to the recommendations. In some cases, requiring existing facilities to meet these recommendations immediately could put producers out of business. Faster action may be needed in cases where a serious environmental problem exists. Deadlines recommended here should be adjusted if there is an existing watershed plan in place that stipulates schedules for action as agreed to by stakeholders.

Flexibility should exist to waive any of the specific recommendations of this document, if alternative approaches or innovative technologies will achieve equivalent levels of environmental protection. Flexibility should also exist to waive recommendations or extend time periods for existing operations based on hardships that may render conformance impracticable.

Technical innovation and experimentation will be critical, in the long-term, to harmonize all agricultural production with the environment. It is essential that any recommendations encourage, reward, and support such technical innovation.

Section 5


Registration of operations should be handled on a state-by-state basis through the appropriate state regulatory authority.

It is important to consider the cumulative impacts of the siting of all potential sources within a watershed. An inventory of agricultural operations would be helpful in assessing such cumulative impacts. Registration is a way to complete such an inventory. It is recommended that all wet processing facilities register so that planning decisions can be made with more complete knowledge of the extent of all types of potential point and nonpoint sources within the watershed.

Section 6


Any wet processing operations and any new manure and wastewater storage facility at an expanded operation should be located based on an evaluation of the cumulative effects of site specific environmental factors and the presence of neighboring wet processing operations.

Setbacks from waterbodies, residences, schools, health facilities, or churches should be used:

1. To locate new manure and wastewater storage facilities of new or expanding wet processing operations.

2. For land application of manure from wet processing operations to reduce odors and prevent water pollution. Existing operations should carry out protective measures for existing facilities, but should not have to relocate these facilities


Construction of new residences, schools, health facilities, or churches adjacent to existing wet processing operations should follow setback recommendations comparable to those imposed on the siting of new and expanded wet processing operations.

Section 7

Public Participation

Public notice, prior to approval or disapproval of a new or expanded wet processing operation, should be given to local residents and others in the community. The public should be invited to comment on the proposed operation and the appropriate regulatory authority should have the discretion to hold public hearings regarding the proposed operation.

Section 8

Operation, Design,

Construction and Management

Each new manure and wastewater storage facility on any new or expanded wet processing operation should be consistent with the engineering standards and specifications provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE). These facilities should be designed to have sufficient storage capacity to meet their utilization schedule or handle 6 months of waste, and to accommodate a 25-year, 24-hour or a 10 year, 10 day precipitation event, whichever is greater. New or expanded lagoons or earthen basins should have emergency spillways and vegetated buffer areas, or secondary containment basins.

Existing manure and wastewater storage facilities which:

1. Receive only the amount of manure and wastewater for which they are designed,

2. Are properly maintained,

3. Exhibit no signs of loss of structural integrity,

should be considered to meet acceptable standards.

Section 9

Land Application

Manure should be applied only to lands with adequate soil sampling and nutrient testing and approved nutrient utilization plans.

Full protection of the environment cannot be achieved in the absence of good management of manure and the land to which the manure is applied. Any new or expanded operation should conduct soil tests and manure nutrient tests every two years and prepare a nutrient utilization plan for all land application areas. Existing operations should have five years after to complete plans. Soil and manure testing, coupled with good nutrient utilization planning, is a good business practice and essential for environmental protection, and should be practices by all wet processing operations.

Acceptable rates of land application of manure should be based on phosphorus rather than nitrogen requirements of crops where soil tests indicate that soil phosphorus has accumulated to levels that are environmentally unsound.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with State land grant colleges, should establish the maximum, or threshold, phosphorus levels for all major soils based on their capacity to retain applications of phosphorus. If soil tests show that these phosphorus thresholds are exceeded, additional applications of manure should not be made to these lands, beyond the amount that can be taken up annually by the crop or other plants. If soils do not exceed the established phosphorus thresholds, then manure may be applied based on the nitrogen requirements of the crop or other plants growing on the land on which manure is applied.

When soil phosphorous thresholds are established, all operations should have two years to evaluate their soil test results for possible exceedence of the appropriate thresholds. If exceedence, or the likelihood of exceedence within a two year period is observed, new or expanded operations should immediately employ the phosphorous standards to those soils. Existing operations should be given an additional five years to make the adjustments needed to conform with the phosphorus threshold standard.

Section 10

Emergency Response

All wet processing operations should prepare and keep current an emergency response plan.

Even the best designed operations are subject to accidents or weather events that can lead to spills. Planning ahead to avert or manage emergency or catastrophic events is a good business practice and an effective way to protect the environment. New or expanded operations should prepare emergency response plans immediately. Existing operations should have the plan in place within one year.

Section 11


Each wet processing operation should keep records for the operation of facilities, manure management plans, nutrient utilization plans, and emergency response plans, for a period of three years.

Section 12

Operator Certification and Training

The operator and contractors of each wet processing operation should be certified and should train employees that are involved in management of facilities, land application of manure, and emergency responses.

Even the best designed facilities or nutrient utilization plans can fail if they are not maintained, operated, or implemented properly. Better trained operators and staff mean better environmental performance. Certification of operators and training of employees and contractors are a good business practice, as well as sound environmental management. New or expanded operations should meet the recommendations for certification and training immediately. Existing operations should have two years to meet the certification and training recommendations.

Section 13


Permanent abandonment of a lagoon or earthen basin by a wet processing operation should be prohibited. Any wet processing operation that ceases operation should close all lagoons, basins, and other manure and wastewater storage facilities, as established by NRCS standards.

Section 14

Inspections, Enforcement,

and Nuisance Defense

Wet processing operations should be inspected regularly.

Periodic inspection of wet processing facilities and records is an effective way to maintain accountability and ensure the public that the environment is being protected.

Wet processing operations that implement all the recommendations of this working document should be shielded from nuisance suits, unless the wet processing operation unreasonably and continuously interferes with the use and enjoyment of a person’s property and the injury or damage is proximately caused by a negligent operation.

Section 15

Financial and

Technical Assistance

Federal and State agencies should strive to provide financial and technical assistance to wet processing operations to adopt practices needed to comply with the recommendations of this working document.

Section 16


Public research institutions and the wet processing operations should encourage and support research on:

1. Measurement and control of odor.

2. Atmospheric deposition of pathogens and nitrogenous compounds.

3. Manure and wastewater storage facility improvements.

4. Improved monitoring technologies.

5. Determination of soil nutrient threshold capacities.

Improving the science basis on which regulatory decisions are made, facilities are designed, and management systems are developed is critical to enhancing the environmental performance of wet processing operations in the long run.







Raw and Processed Material Coordination

1. The poultry industry will take the initiative to assure the development of strategies to help organize the supply of litter through coordinated management mechanisms to provide alternatives in counties, regions and other areas where nutrients are higher than recommended values, (supply, organization, database, etc.).

2. EPA and NRCS in cooperation with their state technical committees and state nonpoint source committees need to prioritize areas where nutrients are higher than recommended values for grant support under EQIP and 319.

Manure Derived Product Supply and Quality Assurance

3. Growers and companies need to capitalize on opportunities to assure a constant supply of quality litter is available for further processing.

4. Growers, companies and agencies must establish quality guidelines and standards for both raw materials, such as litter, and for litter/manure-derived products, such as compost or pellets, to control product quality and eliminate inconsistencies.

Enhancing the Demand for Litter/Manure

5. The poultry industry will focus support on efforts that develop and stimulate demand for litter/manure-derived products. Priority must be placed on self sustaining alternative uses which add value to litter.

Manure Resource Development Policy

6. Industry (companies and growers) and government must reduce the reliance on technical standards (practices) and focus on performance standards (numeric) to reduce the cost of compliance.

7. State and federal governments must revise such fees based on the net weight of the nutrients, so that organic materials are not unfairly assessed for water content and carbonaceous components. Existing federal programs should be coordinated at local, regional, and national levels to ensure they are complementary.

8. State and federal manure polices must facilitate the transfer of ownership and responsibility from manure producer to manure user.

Workgroup Objective - Identify, assess, and promote alternatives to manure management practices based on technical, economic and environmental considerations.


It is important to stimulate market-driven strategies to manage manure utilization. There are many opportunities to use market-based strategies (such as market development, tax incentives, education, etc.) which generally rely on adding value to manure. These opportunities are lost when manure policy is driven by a waste disposal strategy.

Future manure management practices will be different from current management practices. Traditionally, any value that has been credited to manure utilization has been related to on-site land application. However, there are numerous alternatives, including emerging processing technologies and utilization options (Appendix 1, "Matrix of Manure-Derived Product Technologies). One dimension in defining manure use is whether the manure is raw or processed. Processed manure typically has a lower environmental risk and also has a greater economic value. The key to successful adoption and deployment of these alternatives is expansion and development of markets for the manure-derived products. (It should be noted that 15 years ago there was no existing demand nor even any projected demand for personal computers. The current demand was a large result of marketing efforts and existing consumers realizing that here was a product that they previously knew nothing about but now must have. Similar scenarios can be envisioned for manure-derived products such as composted litter).

Excess quantities of nutrients in areas of concentrated poultry/livestock production are causing or have the potential to cause environmental problems. Comprehensive strategies are needed for management of nutrients -- including manure-derived nutrients in such areas of concentrated production. Concerns regarding management of these excess nutrients are accelerating interest in alternative uses for manure materials. Effective utilization of manure and other animal byproducts into other processes will remove manure from the environment and reduce the risk to water quality.

Immediate concerns of regulatory and environmentalist constituents call for quick action which is not consistent with the development of effective long-term solutions. (There ar no silver bullets). There are inherent economic risks and environmental risks with both conventional and alternative uses of the product (i.e. there are no "zero risk" management options).

The principal constraints to widespread adoption to innovative/alternative uses are primarily economic, and are based largely on inadequate demand for manure-derived products. Thus, efforts to pursue alternative uses should focus primarily on expanding or developing demand for manure-derived products. In many instances, this will entail "pre-market development efforts" such as increasing the awareness and appreciation of the existence and benefits of manure-derived products to potential users and customers.

Raw and Processed Material Coordination

Overview: Manure producers have difficulty coordinating raw material with manure product users. There is a need for material aggregation and coordination.

Rationale: Even where markets exist and appropriate conversion technologies are readily available, private companies are generally unable to obtain the necessary financing to construct facilities and implement alternative strategies because of lender concerns regarding the collection/aggregation of raw materials supplies from a multitude of relatively small sources (i.e., contract growers). Alternative uses for manure/litter are subject to economics of scale. Large-scale approaches and large-volume enterprises are probably needed. Regionally coordinated strategies should be pursued where possible (Appendix 2, "Regionally Coordinated Composting Opportunities in the Poultry and Livestock Sectors"). Cooperatives would allow the growers to collectively benefit from the processing and sales of litter as well as provide insurance options (e.g., group health), greater volume purchasing and other benefits. Clean-out contractors or crop input suppliers may become brokers. Litter "hotlines" may be established (Appendix 3, "Establishing a Litter Hotline").

Recommendation: The poultry industry will take the initiative to assure the development of strategies to help organize the supply of litter through coordinated management mechanisms to provide alternatives in counties, regions and other areas where nutrients are higher than recommended values, (supply, organization, database, etc.).

Recommendation: EPA and NRCS in cooperation with their state technical committees and state nonpoint source committees need to prioritize areas where nutrients are higher than recommended values for grant support under EQIP and 319.

Manure Derived Product Supply and Quality Assurance

Overview: There are seasonal variations in raw material supply which create a barrier to meeting the product demand cycle.

Rationale: Any plant that takes litter must be able to produce product year round and thus raw material must be available all year. Traditional timing of clean outs in the Fall and Spring may still be able to be maintained, however, a database system must be developed at the county and possibly state level in order to manage the availability of supply. Availability of a year-round supply may be facilitated by providing incentives to growers for on-site storage facilities.

Recommendation: Growers and companies need to capitalize on opportunities to assure a constant supply of quality litter is available for further processing.

Overview: A lack of consistent product quality from facility to facility is a barrier to manure product acceptance. There are not well defined characterizations of litter as a product.

Rationale: The technological aspects of the principal conversion options -- combustion, composting, and pelletizing -- do not represent significant constraints. However, these technologies must, to the extent possible, result in high quality and consistent litter-based products. Manure derived products will need to be pathogen- and odor-free, and meet basic requirements regarding other attributes such as heavy metals content. This will be particularly true for interstate commerce of manure-derived products. Biosecurity issues must be addressed. Odor issues must be addressed.

Recommendation: Growers, companies and agencies must establish quality guidelines and standards for both raw materials, such as litter, and for litter/manure-derived products, such as compost or pellets, to control product quality and eliminate inconsistencies.

Enhancing the Demand for Litter/Manure

Overview: Manure is generally the most problematic when available supplies exceed demand. Resulting policies which enable efficient cost-effective livestock production and sound environmental practices, facilitate industry growth without raising regulatory barriers.

Rationale: Every rule and permit added at state and national levels adds a new cost to production with no added benefits to producers to offset the cost. Within a production system, these individual costs have a significant cumulative effect. There are ways to champion both environmental concerns and industry goals at the same time. Traditional environmental policy focuses on waste disposal. Elevating the value of manure derived products involves a distinct public and private shift from least cost waste management to manure resource development (Appendix 4, "Policy for Enhancing Manure Value").

Recommendation: The poultry industry will focus support on efforts that develop and stimulate demand for litter/manure-derived products. Priority must be placed on self sustaining alternative uses which add value to litter.

Manure Resource Development Policy

Overview: Manure statutes and regulations must complement industry efforts, not compete. This can occur by shifting from mandating practices to focusing on outcome-based standards.

Rationale: Technical standards, while convenient to enforce, thwart creativity, may not actually address underlying water quality concern, and impose costs on everyone whether necessary or not. To facilitate this shift public policies must stimulate innovation and commerce not constrain them by mandating practices (Appendix 4).

Recommendation: Industry (companies and growers) and government must reduce the reliance on technical standards (practices) and focus on performance standards (numeric) to reduce the cost of compliance.

Overview: We must level the playing field among all states by minimizing the regulatory overhead for all producers.

Rationale: Industry growth relies on the ability to choose between various alternatives without economic penalty. Currently, this is not always the case. For example, "fertilizer fees" are widely assessed on conventional fertilizers as well as manure-derived products and other organic materials marketed as products with fertilizer value. In most states, such fees are assessed on a per-ton basis of the fertilizer material. This creates a substantial economic disadvantage for manure-derived/organic materials, which are relatively low in nutrient value and high in moisture content.

Recommendation: State and federal governments must revise such fees based on the net weight of the nutrients, so that organic materials are not unfairly assessed for water content and carbonaceous components. Existing federal programs should be coordinated at local, regional, and national levels to ensure they are complementary.

Overview: The perception that manure is a waste has encouraged rules which link manure producers to the manure transported off-farm. This extended liability is unnecessary and cost prohibitive.

Rationale: Utilization policies must promote the transfer of ownership and responsibility from manure production facility to utilization location. In an era of increasing regulatory pressures, such options for reducing liability will be appealing to manure generators. Commercial products make the user liable for misuse not the manufacturer. Iowa is implementing new legislation which defines marketed dry manure as a commodity.

Recommendation: State and federal manure policies must facilitate the transfer of ownership and responsibility from manure producer to manure user.


Appendix 1

Matrix of Manure Derived Product Technologies

Jim Wimberly, Foundation for Organic Resources Management

End Uses






This has been and continues to be the primary management practice for litter and layer manure. On-farm (and nearby) land application of raw litter/manure will continue to be the utilization option of first choice for most poultry producers to the extend that such material can be spread on farm fields through the use of BMPs and not limited by soil phosphorous levels.

Off-farm land application options--which constitute movement ("export") of litter/manure--derived products out of areas of concentrated production--are being expanded for two reasons: 1) to provide litter/manure management alternatives for "excess" litter that can no longer be applied on-farm due to high soil phosphorous levels or other limitations; 2) in response to demand for litter/manure-derived products as fertilizers and/or soil amendments for other agricultural production activities.

Export into soil amendment/fertilizer markets include both raw litter (into relatively closer markets, with peak activities during the spring clean-out season) and processed material (through composting, pelletizing, or other processing techniques). Composting leads to pathogen- and odor-free products that can be sold into a variety of compost markets. Pelletizing leads to a pathogen-free product (with some pelletizing efforts claiming to also produce odor-free or odor-reduced products) that can be sold as a fertilizer/soil amendment, as a livestock feed (see below), or as an energy fuel (see below).

While export of litter/manure-derived products has the potential for movement of enormous quantities of material, efforts are constrained by insufficient markets, low market values, and high transportation costs. However, several companies are attempting to commercialize technologies that conserve nutrient qualities of the raw litter through the processing and/or enhance the nutrient qualities of the products, with the expectation that market





prices for such products will be high enough to cover the costs of such operations. A few such facilities are already in operation, but to date have produced limited quantities and have targeted sales primarily at high margin, low-volume niche markets.



Poultry litter is a viable supplemental cattle feed, with reasonable nutritional value. On-farm feeding of litter to cattle has been an attractive and successful option for many producers, although the total amount of litter used for such applications has been relatively small (estimated at less than 5% nationwide). It is not anticipated that this use option will increase significantly.

Based on on-farm successes, some off-farm markets have developed for litter as cattle feed, both in raw and pelletized forms. As a feed, litter commands a higher market price than as a soil amendment. However, public perceptions regarding use of litter-based feedstuffs are expected to constrain significant expansion of this use option and may decrease such feed markets.





(combustion &


There are currently no commercially-marketed farm-scale conversion systems available to use poultry litter or manure as a fuel for thermal (e.g., space heating) or electrical energy production (primarily through the steamcycle).

However, a farm-scale system is currently being developed by a company in Virginia that would utilize raw litter for fuel for on-farm energy production.

Another on-farm furnace system is currently being developed to use raw sawdust as a fuel for space heating of poultry houses; the manufacturer intends to develop the systems to use litter as an alternative fuel.

Currently there are no off-farm poultry waste-fired energy systems installed or operating in the U.S. However, 2 large, centralized systems (11 MW and 14 MW)-- entirely fueled by poultry litter--have been operating in the U.K. since '92 and '94 respectively, with a 3rd (40 MW) unit coming on line in June '98. The owners of this technology are actively evaluating the potential for such systems in areas of concentrated poultry production in the U.S. (e.g., Delmarva, NW Arkansas). The U.K. systems are entirely geared towards electricity production, with power sold to the local utility. These systems are capital intensive and subject to economies of scale (which means a single facility would need to serve a large region, e.g., obtaining litter from a wide range around the plant).

There are other biomass energy technologies that exist or are under development that could probably utilize litter as a fuel for thermal and/or electrical power generation. One system, using gasification technology, is receiving considerable attention, since the size of these units could be much smaller than the U.K. systems (resulting in lower capital costs and smaller ranges for litter supplies).

The economies of litter-fired thermal/electrical systems are challenging due to the low prices of fossil fuel-derived energy in the U.S. Relative to existing, conventional power plants, litter-fired systems have higher capital and operating costs (on a per-energy unit basis) and significant logistical challenges in terms of raw material supply.






Another consideration regarding centralized litter-fired energy systems is ash management. Liter has a high ash content (ranging from 15% to 30%. All of the P and K in llitter passes through the energy system and is concentrated in the ash (all of the N is lost during the process) The U.K. systems have developed lucrative markets for the high-P ash in the soil amendment/ fertilizer markets, and it is anticipated that any such systems installed in the U.S. would also expect ash sales to contribute to the overall economics of the operation.

Delmarva Power is investigating co-firing with litter.






















Biogas--a low grade form of methane--is a byproduct of anaerobic digestion, a biological degradation process that is particularly adapted to liquid waste streams. Numerous small systems have been installed at dairy, swine, and layer facilities around the country during the past 20 years. Some of these systems are still in operation, and there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years in this technology as a waste management practice.

Biogas can be used for space heating (typically through direct combustion or using a heat exchanger) and for electrical generation (typically by using the gas as a fuel for stationary internal combustion engines coupled to generators).

The economics of on-farm biogas production and utilization are challenging, and generally subject to economies of scale (i.e., attractive only for larger facilities) and tend to favor thermal vs. electrical use. It is not anticipated that on-farm biogas energy systems will be widely embraced by the poultry industry, although larger layer operations might be able to benefit from this option.

Because biogas is a product of anaerobic digestion (which is generally used for treating high-liquid waste streams), it is generally not applicable to poultry operations, not is it practical as a centralized energy option, given the costs of transporting the high-liquid feedstocks to the central facility). Although there has been one centralized biogas-based energy system installed in Oregon that produces biogas from dairy manure from numerous surrounding dairy operations, it is not directly transferable to the poultry industry since [high-liquid] layer operations are not clustered and could not serve such a regional facility.

There have been some research projects and private attempts to develop systems for anaerobic digestion of litter, but such systems have not been commercialized and are not expected to have widespread applications for the reasons noted herein.







liquid fuels


There are no known technologies that can feasibly produce liquid fuels from litter or manure at the farm level, although it is conceivable that development of liquid fuel conversion technologies could someday result in farm-scale conversion systems.

There have been significant advances in recent years in technologies for converting cellulosic materials, including animal manures--into ethanol. Improvements in the techniques and quality of the product (and byproducts) are bringing such technologies close to economic viability (in terms of competing with petroleum-based liquid fuels). There is at least one company that is considered poised to construct several cellulose-to-ethanol facilities in the U.S. in the near future; moreover, this company is currently evaluating poultry litter as a feedstock.


Appendix 2

Regionally Coordinated Composting Opportunities in the Poultry & Livestock Sectors

Jim Wimberly, Foundation for Organic Resources Management

In the past thirty years, poultry and livestock production in the United States has evolved toward larger, confined production facilities. Through rational economic decisions, producers have tended to cluster together in relatively small areas where they can benefit from targeted infrastructural support and, in some cases, incentives used to attract poultry and livestock industries for local economic development. During this period, there have been increasing concerns regarding manure management, particularly in the areas of concentrated poultry and livestock production.

To address these concerns, poultry and livestock producers, working with state and federal assistance agencies and regulatory authorities have developed a spectrum of "best management practices." These efforts have focused almost exclusively on managing manure--or more specifically, the nutrients in the manure--at the farm level. However, there is growing realization that such practices are not always adequate for avoiding water quality impacts in areas or watersheds of concentrated livestock production and high nutrient loading. Innovative strategies are needed to better manage the excessive or problematic portion of the manure/nutrients out of the watershed or area of concentration. Such strategies must be technically viable, environmentally sound, and, to the extend possible, cost-effective.

One option is composting. Through composting, manure is converted into a pathogen- and odor-free, value-added material that is more readily transported off-site and sold into commercial markets--thereby exporting the "problematic" nutrients out of the production area. The feasibility of this strategy is proven, as there are several such operations currently in existence around the country. Thus composting should be recognized and embraced by both public and private interests as a viable strategy for addressing livestock waste management concerns and reducing the potential for nonpoint source pollution in areas of concentrated poultry and livestock production.

Widespread adoption of composting as a livestock waste/nutrient management strategy will entail several steps. Recognizing that production of consistent, high quality compost products is essential for commercial marketing of such products, poultry and livestock producers should work together--perhaps by forming a feedstocks cooperative--to create a large composting enterprise that can realize economies of scale. Whether centralized or de-centralized, the regionally coordinated enterprise should engage professional composting expertise for the production and marketing functions. Moreover, establishment of a professionally managed composting operation will provide opportunities to obtain other organic wastes that can be co-composted. Many such feedstocks, e.g., agricultural or food processing residues, have negative values ("tipping fees") which will enhance the economic viability of the overall operation. In addition, coordinated composting operations may be able to benefit from state/federal assistance programs, such as the USDA's Environmental Quality Incentive Program. As an organics waste management strategy, coordinated composting operations can provide significant economic and environmental benefits to poultry and livestock producers and their surrounding communities.

Appendix 3

Setting up a Litter Marketing Operation

Andy Walker, West Virginia Soil Conservation Agency

The steps to be taken in the development of a litter marketing operation should be:

1. Assess availability of available litter by subtracting tons presently marketed from total tons produced. Also include tons that are currently needed in the poultry area for present crop production. With this information and additional available acres information it can be determined if export is necessary or will a redistribution of the local areas be enough.

2. Investigate where and to use present litter movement is taking place. This will provide a base for the area that are potential users as well as the end use. With this information, it should be determined if these existing areas can support imports of litter or if new areas of operation must be developed.

3. When exporting litter to areas that have been receiving litter, it will be necessary to provide technical information to those that may not totally understand the use of litter and provide technical, sound information to the neighbors who will explore this opportunity.

4. When an area has been identified for exporting litter, examine all the opportunities for litter use, not just traditional grass, row crop and feed. When the area is truly investigated, nontraditional uses will emerge. Such users should be landscapers, road construction, forestry, orchards and vineyards (small fruit), mine reclamation, land stabilization, parks, recreation, etc....although all opportunities for uses of litter may not be for raw litter, it may be necessary for a composted product.

5. Education is the principle selling point for litter, provide information meetings to such groups as the Cattlemen's Association, Farm Bureau, Young Farmers, etc...provide any information to the handling and use of litter. Do not give brief overviews. Be specific and willing to allow the group to direct the speakers as to what information they truly need.

6. Develop and set up a central location that will simplify the purchase of litter. There is nothing more discouraging than not being able to get accurate information on the spot or having to make several calls. This location should have the ability to answer technical questions on handling and use of litter as well as availability of litter, trucking (opportunities for back hauls, loading requirements, etc.)

7. When a call to purchase litter has been made, a data base should be kept on information that will allow the best match to a seller, such information should include name, address, phone, county, type of litter sought, use of this litter, amount needed, type of litter storage preferred, dates litter is needed and dates that it may be accepted, need for trucking and mileage. We have noticed that a familiar voice goes a long way in the trust of a buyer (if the buyer gets a different person each time they call it may add to the confusion of a first time user.)

8. Provide plenty of advertisement of this service in the areas of production as well as the area of export. The advertisement with the education and technical assistance will be the key to success.

9. When litter begins to move into new areas, take the opportunity to develop demonstrations and promote the advantages that this farmer has received from the use of litter. Nothing sells litter better than a satisfied neighbor.

Appendix 4

Policy for Enhancing Manure Value

Mark W. Jenner, American Farm Bureau Federation

Traditionally water quality policy has focused on excessive deposition of pollutants, or wastes, in the waters of the United States. For the U.S. livestock industry, this was defined through Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permits monitor and control the pollutants discharged into the waters of the U.S. for CAFOs, the base standard for discharge was set at zero.

Our nation's overnight public policy on all animal manure treats it as an environmental liability. This acceptance of manure as a liability creates a chronic problem for the industry. Complying with regulatory demands that view manure as a liability costs the industry dearly. Manure rules that focus narrowly on controlling manure as a waste, create a barrier to developing manure into a revenue-generating resource.

While Clean Water Act livestock policies are directed at limiting pollution, excessive discharges, and wastes from the waters of the United States, these policies are the direct result of the animal agriculture's under-developed manure utilization strategy. The livestock and poultry industries have designed very effective least-cost waste disposal systems, but those systems are focused more on the concepts of disposing and containing manure rather than using it. Without an associated positive value, manure is only viewed as a liability.

Waste-oriented public policy, compounded by industry reliance on a least-cost disposal, perpetuates manure's image as a chronic liability. To make matters worse, expansion of current clean water regulations related to livestock (CAFO and AFO policies) will codify manure into law as an environmental liability, with little or no opportunity to transform manure into a beneficial resource.

Waste disposal is an important component of public policy, but must not be the only policy thrust. To truly be successful, the central thrust on manure management must be on resource development and on incentives to fully utilize manure.

Policies which reduce compliance costs. Waste disposal policies based on cost reduction, take on a number of forms. Tipping fees are one mechanism for which waste handlers receive payment for taking responsibility for disposing of wastes. Permit trading is another policy tool which allows operators with little environmental risk to be rewarded by operators with greater environmental risk. Tax incentives and cost share programs are cost management policies. The use of penalties for committing environmental crimes increases the cost of production and is a disincentive to pollute for cost minimizing producers.

Policies which add value and enhance utilization. The solution to livestock environmental risk reduction is to develop public policies which completely utilize all organic residuals as resources into new products. Policies that characterize manure components of concern will also create new information about the composition of various manure products.

As the end-use value of manure increases, the ease of transportability also increases. One Virginia manure broker reported that he could haul fertilizer-grade broiler litter 150 miles, while he could afford to haul feed-grade broiler litter 300 miles. It was recently reported (Andy Walker) that West Virginia litter is successfully processed (composted) and marketed to the mushroom industry in Pennsylvania more than 500 miles away from the poultry house, point-of-origin.

All manure products do not have value. Quality compost or methane for energy has more value than anaerobic lagoon effluent or odor. All are manure products. To gain the most value, three things must happen: 1) manure producers must have a quality product, 2) manure consumers must have a mechanism to know the value of available manure products, and 3) the regulations and statutes must champion this market not create a barrier to manure market transactions. With these factors in place, manure will be utilized and environmental risk will be reduced.

When a manure producer follows a resource maximization strategy rather than a waste minimization strategy, opportunities for revenue emerge.

Technology standards or practices are ineffective. Prescriptive practices or technology standards, are input policy controls. In cases where information is limited, control of inputs is chosen to influence a desired output. This innocent, historical strategy is easy to incorporate into rules, but is also inefficient.

Technologies and practices are tools of management, but rules based on animal units (AU) or best management practices (BMP) don't work the same. As rules, these management tools serve only as proxies for water quality objectives, build scale effects, codify management, create a disincentive for innovation, and in the end, may not even come close to enhancing water quality.

When these practices are used in conjunction with a waste disposal policy strategy, manure is codified as a waste and innovative, on-farm research becomes criminal.

Outcome-based performance standards reflect policy objectives. Performance standards shift the focus to an outcome, rather than an input. "Zero discharge" is a performance standard. With a performance standard, a business or enterprise can manage their activities and balance their resources to meet that performance standard.

Performance standards create useful information. Whether the information is positive or negative it is still useful. It creates local flexibility and opportunities to innovate. Used in conjunction with value-adding manure policy programs, performance standards can inspire creativity. This useful information created, can enhance market development. The regulations and standards that define commodities and feed labels are outcome-based performance standards.

Currently, there is a lack of product quality guidelines and standards, particularly regarding manure-derived soil amendment products (e.g., pellets and compost). Absence of such standards enables inferior quality to compete with superior quality products in the market. This creates an economic disincentive to produce quality products, and at the same time, erodes consumer confidence in purchasing additional manure derived products.

There is a richer understanding about effective water quality policies, now than 25 years ago. It is imperative, for the survival of our livestock and poultry industries to enhance water quality policy by adding value to manure resources rather than codify manure as a waste.

Appendix 5

Potential Demand For Organics, Lawn And Garden Market Report

Jay Sennett, Gulf-Tex (Virginia)/Bay Saver Inc.

Litter and manure has many uses in commercial and consumer markets. A solution to the problem will be in identifying the potential end markets and uses for the manure and litter. No one solution will be effective in moving the problem from a waste control issue to one of a commodity product. Production of blended natural organic fertilizers, manure and soil amendment products are one part of the solution. The US lawn and garden market in 1997 totaled $27 billion in 1997, an 18% increase over 1996. Participation in lawn and gardening was up 5% in 1997 to 68 million households with an increase in average expenditures up 9% to $385. Outdoor Fertilizer use increased to 24 million households in 1997, up from 23 million in 1996. Use of soil amendments/mulch remained flat at 31 million households. Home and Garden Centers continued to be the leaders in point of consumer purchases.

Lawn and garden retail sales increased in all US markets except New England and East Central.

The major demographics of lawn and garden retail purchasers are as follows:

§ Men.

§ People 30 years of age and older.

§ College-educated households.

§ Those with professional, business or manual labor occupations.

§ Households in the South and West.

§ Married households.

§ City and Small Town households.

§ Households with income of $30,000 or more.

Poultry litter and other animal manure can be processed for the lawn and garden retail market under a few categories: Manure; Natural Organic Fertilizer: Topsoil (compost). 5.4 million households purchased manure classified as outdoor fertilizer. 2.6 million households purchased natural organic fertilizer. 14.4 million households purchased topsoil. 15.3 million households purchased Peat Moss/Soil Amendments. Furthermore, purchasers of all the above products were most prevalent among city and rural dwellers, college-educated households, households with $30,000 or more in income, Midwest and West households (East and South purchasers were also significant but were lead by the Midwest and West). This data is summary and more specific information is available for companies seeking to conduct an in-depth evaluation. However, based on the above data, it can be assumed that with effective processing, packaging and marketing, the consumer lawn and garden market holds excellent potential for absorbing a portion of the animal manure generated in this country. This accompanied with industry sponsored promotions could very well be effective in expanding the markets for these products. More detailed research is needed for the commercial lawn and garden market as well as the feed markets both domestically and internationally.

*All data provided above was provided by the national Gardening Association and Gallup Organization from their report The 1997-98 National Gardening Survey.






Educational and training programs for members of the poultry industries (this term includes the allied industries), as well as for university and government personnel, are necessary to ensure all participants are fulfilling their environmental responsibilities to the best of their ability. Formalized communications between members of the poultry industries, between these industries and the general public, and between these industries and government personnel are essential to the creation of a team approach to solving our ever-changing, yet persistent, environmental challenges. Education is a time consuming, and potentially costly process. For example, best cost estimates for education, training and communications programs for all segments of the industry be several million dollars, or they could achieve this level through the value of in-kind support.

As the world continues to demand greater quantities of high quality animal based foods, there will be even greater concentration of animal units, and thus even greater environmental challenges. The USA is in a position to not only develop programs that protect our environment for future generations, we can positively influence the environmental policy for the rest of the world.

The Education, Training and Communications Workgroup has provided guidelines for the development of aggressive and effective programs on issues defined by the other workgroups. Because situations change from issue to issue, and over time, specific methods and other details should be part of the programming defined by the other workgroups. All activities are intended to be on-going and long-term, so are provided in general terms. Specific details as to what projects or educational efforts need to be provided in a particular watershed or other area (e.g., who will be responsible for various activities), and the time-frame in which items will be completed is often site specific and thus outside the purview of this committee. The important consideration is development of advisory committees and an overall council to make these decisions. Construction of a communications plan/time-line example is provided within this Appendix, but specific details would need to be established by regional or other advisory councils or committees, or individual companies. Significant professional assistance is available from the land grant university system to aid in development of programs.

To support the generic ideas for the education, training and communications programs, and to initiate independent discussions by the proposed advisory committees and the national advisory council, an example process for program development has been provided. A section on electronic databases (CRIS, and AGRICOLA) has also been included to ensure familiarity with these educational resource options.

The industry actively promotes effective programs to address environmental issues, which include:

use of Poultry Water Quality Consortium, land grant university, and other material development of certification training programs for NMP develop a strategy for improved communication with the public and government personnel at all levels establish internal dialog with other industry members regarding successful programs development of an internet site to share ideas, successful programs, etc. host field trips for government personnel, media, legislators, and others establishment of a coordinating system to sustain a proactive and effective educational, training and communications program.

Background and Issues

There have been instances where confusion has existed within the regulated community regarding the interpretation of federal and state environmental regulations and base legislation. A few states are ahead of the curve regarding compliance issues, and some regulations impact the poultry and animal industries more than others. Educational meetings held with the industry to explain the regulatory process, as well as environmental protection concepts, from both the state and federal perspectives would greatly enhance the industry's comprehension and capacity to fulfill their responsibilities.

The need to educate all poultry personnel--growers, independent operators, integrators, and allied industry--is paramount. A convenient and practical way to do this can be through the integrated companies, because they typically have environmental personnel on staff who can disseminate facts and materials. Independent producers must also be provided relevant and timely information, with the understanding that their time and other resources may be more limited than vertically integrated companies. The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can take a large role in this process. Government officials and the public are other important audiences of educational programs.

Information presented by the print and electronic news media must be science-based, and not an automatic accusation of wrong-doing by the industry. The industry must provide the media with objective, science based information, facts about the industry's environmental track record, and maintain open lines of communication for honest exchanges of information. As an industry that recognizes its role in being environmentally friendly, we must do a more effective job in communicating that commitment. The media needs credible sources of information to avoid oversimplifications and errors.

Educational and training programs, backed by fair and effective regulatory action, will help to reinforce high credibility and to create trust in our agricultural system. The media must be educated about our industry and its commitment to environmental protection. Response Teams must be the source of objective and accurate information, both proactively and to correct misinformation.

In addition to explaining to the public what agriculture is doing to minimize pollution (as well as what we have to do)--we must help government officials at all levels understand and appreciate the efforts and progress agriculture has made for years. We need to focus on specific successes and challenges. Communicating our long-term successes to agency personnel and the general public is essential. Some agency personnel believe that voluntary programs are not as effective as regulations. If true, it's time to discuss changes that would encourage greater compliance to ensure environmental protection.

USDA and EPA must cooperate in understanding the environmental problems farmers face and their individual contributions (this assumes the ability to partition the nutrient load and the existence of baselines for various nutrient sources). To answer this issue, EPA, USDA, other agencies, and agricultural industries must work together to define needed legislative changes to improve maximum and long-term environmental protection. For example, successful lagoon maintenance must be tied to a regular inspection and maintenance system, which may require legislative changes.

Effective Nutrient Management Plan regulations that address long-term protection of the environment--- as opposed to strict reliance on current laws---demand a systematic approach to nutrient management. All sources of nutrients must be accounted for on each farm. It is crucial that we get information out to media, regulators, and citizens on the numbers and kinds of programs that train farmers in NMP design and compliance. Other pollution prevention measures and successes also must be communicated. The goal for compliance with NMPs is 100 percent of all farms, regardless of size or source of nutrients used as fertilizer.

Another area of concern that appears to many as antiquated and inherently inaccurate, is the Animal Unit designation. Other countries have instituted a system of defining animal units (by species and age) by nutrient output levels for each animal. This system has stimulated innovative responses to reduce nutrient loading of waterways, something not possible under the current USA system. The output based option of defining animal concentrations will stimulate the use of alternative management practices and rations provided the animals, with the intent of reducing nutrient output by the animals. This reduction in nutrients in the manure and urine of animals will reduce the nutrient loading on available land and reduce the amount of land required to raise animals. There is agreement that agriculture in the USA needs the stimulative effect of conversion to outcome-based programs, as opposed to the current reliance on in-put based regulations. Under current regulations, animal units are input-based,

making it difficult (if not impossible) to develop outcome-based recommendations and programs. A strong research program is necessary to evaluate this option, and a strong communications and educational program is necessary to train personnel and to discuss the results of using these programs.

We must be proactive and positive when communicating the industry's position on environmental issues, presenting success stories, or addressing our failures honestly. This means that everyone in the poultry system (industry, allied industry, university, government) must contribute ideas on the best ways to communicate and educate specific audiences. We should invite people from industry and state and federal agencies to participate in cooperative educational programs. A national group could take the lead in program development, act as a clearinghouse to gather educational

materials (from government, allied industries, other countries, etc.), and assist others in using it to develop programs. Cooperation among educational, regulatory agencies and universities would advance a strong voluntary approach. A proactive approach will mean better relationships among all segments of the industry, the media and general public.


To develop and implement an effective program that ensures their future success, the industry (producers, integrators, associations, allied industry, etc.) needs to be proactive and lead the effort to address environmental issues that impact the industry. And within this structure, an essential question that must be answered prior to effective program development and delivery is: "Who Leads?". If there is no leadership, all that will exist is a few unorganized and probably ineffectual committees,

fighting for the same educational or research dollar. USDA educational and technical assistance agencies can lead, but only from the stand point of their vision and expertise. Regulatory agencies can lead, but not effectively due to the absence of buy-in by the regulated, who will only comply with minimum requirements as dictated. Innovation will be severely stifled or absent. Stakeholders (i.e., those who have financial and personal "stake" in these issues; because one breathes air and consumes food does not mean they should control all aspects of farming) must lead. (Note that originally, the term stakeholder meant that the person holding the money from a wager had NO interest in the outcome of the wager, so could be trusted to hold the "stake" or "purse" for the winner of the bet.) Perhaps a better term for persons who have no financial or immediate personal stake in the impact of decisions related to another's

business would be "shareholder". The livelihood of stakeholders depends on their capacity to define, understand, and effectively respond to their responsibility to long term environmental protection requirements, and to societal concerns regarding these environmental issues.

Society in turn has a responsibility to ensure a clean environment is passed on to future generations, and thus must enforce fair and reasonable regulations that affect all users of the environment. When shareholders cause the promulgation of politically based rather than science based regulations that are inconsistent or unfairly enforced, or exercise excessive influence over the day to day decisions of agriculture, conflicts

arise and leadership's time is spent defending positions rather than collectively attempting to create holistic solutions to environmental problems. These programs will attempt to ensure a cooperative approach is defined and followed to ensure the long term benefit to the environment and society. We recommend a tiered system of Advisory Councils, to define and develop programs as the mechanism for industry leadership.

Program Outline

Information is presented in a generic format for educational, training and communications programs for 1) industry, 2) government, and 3) the public. Each program area will be prefaced by an objective statement. Future programs will be based on specific issues identified by the other groups, so are presented in general terms in this report. Educational, training and communications programs assume the requirement to form a national advisory council to facilitate activities of regional, state or other advisory councils, and who will assist in development of specific programs. Programs should be primarily run through the Land Grant University's Cooperative Extension Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service because these organizations have the expertise in place, and there is no advantage to "reinventing the wheel". Specific determinations of interactions are a local option and can not be made in this report.

Generic concepts for each component under these categories include:

Education includes:

university extension programs; work with universities to include environmental protection in classroom curriculum (including NMP and BMPs); fact sheets for the general public: cooperatively prepared by EPA, USDA, NRCS, NBC, etc.; and the USDA and EPA, in conjunction with state land grant colleges should establish science-based P and N standards.

Training includes:

farmers (growers, independent producers) or their trained employees should be involved in management of facilities, emergency responses, and land application of nutrients; if farmers (growers, independent producers) sell or transport nutrients off-site, they should inform the applicator of available nutrients so application may be at agronomic rates based on crop need and soil type; training information is available on the Internet, satellite downlinks, and through integrators, NRCS or Extension Service; integrator at the complex or corporate level should have an environmental manager/officer to provide guidance/ assistance to growers or others as appropriate formal nutrient management certification training should be handled by regional, state, or local NRCS or Extension Service; and NRCS or Extension Service to develop outreach programs to train growers and integrators.

Communication includes:

Web site with environmental dialogue and other hot topics; awards and initiative to recognize and promote environmental protection leadership; public notification of new poultry operations (i.e., new construction); producer outreach programs to include seminars; Distance education (e.g., satellite broadcast downlink) programs to industry personnel and the general public are potentially an important component of training and educational programs (the expected cost/conference is $15,000)

Assumptions are:

industry leadership through an actual, or equivalent to a, national advisory council (perhaps such as the Poultry Water Quality Consortium) and regional or other councils which will act as an umbrella organizational structure for industry, government and public education and communications programs; industry communication of reports; assignment of individual responsibility and follow-through; collaboration with other commodity groups to the extent there is mutual benefit; and a partnership between industry, educators and regulators; the latter two fully support the voluntary efforts of the industry as the primary pollution prevention strategy (recognizing the necessary existence of regulations).


Objectives: An industry education program, through a continuous and interactive process that is science based and outcome oriented, will educate producers, integrators, and allied industries on the challenges and requirements of environmental regulations, and actions needed to meet these challenges. Furthermore this program will actively communicate with the regulatory agencies what the industry is doing to meet environmental goals, and provide an industry perspective on the impacts of regulations.

Assign Cooperative Extension Service in each state the responsibility for this contribution. CES will work in close cooperation with the national and other advisory councils.

1. Advisory Councils (two or more tiers/levels--local/state/regional/watershed/ national...) the national council, and perhaps each other council will require full time staff or otherwise dedicated individuals to develop and coordinate programs; develop an overall Advisory Council (national in scope) umbrella organizational structure for industry, government and public educational programs NOT administrative, or command and control, or top-down management provide feedback to state and regional advisory groups; developed, supported and led by industry; and should be staffed with people who will be tasked to perform the actions; request the Cooperative Extension Service take responsibility for coordination of this component; at the local and/or regional, and national levels composed of Cooperative Extension program development and technical specialists, and others such as the NRCS, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Department of Agriculture, media, public representative.

2. Advisory Council functions would be similar for the national and other levels, and include:

(Note: Many of these functions should be sub-contracted to organizations such as the Cooperative Extension Service, perhaps through a competitive grant process. Additionally, many of these functions are part of the normal duties of a national commodity organization, so some thought could be given to cooperation in this area.) facilitate, coordinate and provide opportunities; measure progress, evaluate, gather data; clearinghouse for ideas; identify research needed; identify educational programs needed; identify and distribute success stories; interaction with national audiences;

help identify sources of financial support; ensure they remain inclusive and industry driven; define environmental problems and alternative solutions explain federal programs and regulations and their relationship to state counterparts follow-through essential to obtain credibility; **review material and curriculum, selects or make suggestions for appropriate curriculum (educational and outreach programs); design

train-the-trainer program subjects to include technical topics, BMP, regulations, NMP, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), public policy issues, interacting with the media, etc.; commitment by everyone; create "buy-in"; **cooperate in conducting benchmark studies to determine extent of BMP adoption and familiarity with appropriate guidelines and regulations; **cooperate in conducting studies to define baselines for nutrient

loading; **cooperate in conducting 6 month or other follow-up study to determine adoption of practices and increase in knowledge and to modify training; **put appropriate information on the www and keep it current; delivery methods for various issues train-the trainer handbooks one-on-one. downlink/www/...; development of publicity success stories credible; coordinate government/public educational programs; and determine impacts of program feedback evaluation modify programs as necessary. **sub-committee(s) could be responsible for these items; overall advisory council would provide general guidance and oversight for completing these items in a timely fashion.

3. Need financial/personnel resources for successful training and communications programs personnel for trainers and web design (plus contract, short-term); funds to develop and/or duplicate curriculum; funds to conduct benchmark and follow-up studies; travel funds for training teams; cooperation with land grant universities.

4. Long term commitment (when the issues are removed, it would be acceptable to remove related educational, communications and training efforts).

5. Prepare a one-page progress report to share with the state technical committee and advisory council for the public awareness campaign (two to four times per year), and the national advisory council.


Objective: A government education program, through a continuous and interactive process that is science based and outcome oriented, will educate government regulators on technical and economic aspects of the poultry industry, and how proposed regulations may impact the industry and society. This educational program will also demonstrate actions the poultry industry has done to address environmental issues and provide examples of proactive programs.

Assign NRCS in each state the responsibility for this contribution. NRCS will work in close cooperation with the national and other advisory councils.

1. Use/expand the State Technical Committee identified in the Farm Bill.

2. Establish quarterly meetings for training/education purposes and to build collaboration between groups and agencies.

3. Conduct benchmark study to determine present level of knowledge (see section on electronic databases).

4. Develop an INTERNAL industry database to include the number of producers, size of operation, and presence of implemented NMP's e.g., grower number, number of growers in compliance with NMP; and report information in aggregate ONLY.

5. Identify the audience audience is primarily regulators and high level administrators in all appropriate agencies; local; state; federal; educate audience on issues; e.g., Extension, NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation District,...; and conduct tours (only if the biosecurity issues can be effectively dealt with).

6. Conduct tours to local operations for education/exposure to the industry biosecurity issues; and not everyone (threat of vandalism by animal activists).

7. Conduct evaluation to determine changes in attitudes and knowledge, changes in relationships, changes in trust level, etc.

8. Prepare a one-page written progress report to share with advisory councils for industry and public education, and the national advisory council.

9. Advisory Council need clearinghouse for information, talking points, ...identify research needed; and identify educational programs needed; industry initiated---see the industry program committee; and the State Technical Committee could be this advisory council, or take a lead role on the council.

10. Determine impacts---see industry section.

11. Resources needed

funds to

conduct benchmark and follow-up studies;

develop training material;

conduct industry data base;

conduct on-site tours; and

hire personnel as needed.


Objective: A public education program through a continuous and interactive process that is science based and outcome oriented, will encourage the media to focus on the real issues related to the relationship of the poultry industry to the stories of the day, e.g., water quality, human health, etc. The program will assist the media in developing a realistic perspective on cause-and-effect relationships, and the role of the poultry industry in the current environmental, health and food safety debates. Targeted programs such as maintenance of a speakers bureau, involvement in youth and school programs, and media liaison activities will be implemented.

Encourage the Department of Agriculture in each state to take responsibility for this activity. The State Departments of Agriculture will work in close cooperation with the national and other advisory councils.

1. Establish an advisory group composed of media representatives, industry, public relations people, government communications people, youth, and the public.

2. Design a mass media campaign to increase the awareness of modern day agribusiness operation, environmentally-friendly farming, complexity of the water quality issue, etc., conduct a benchmark study to establish present level of awareness; and work in close cooperation with Conservation Districts, CES and NRCS in each state.

3. Partnership between industry and government educators (e.g., CES county Extension educators) and schools.

4. Establish a local/regional speakers bureau to work with educating civic groups and organizations.

5. Develop a media relationship building campaign at the local level so media sources will have a way to get accurate information in a timely, effective manner.

6. Conduct a follow-up study to determine the level of awareness once the media campaign is up and operational. Timing should be based on input from media/public relations people.

7. Prepare a one-page written progress report to share with government and industry advisory councils and the national advisory council.

8. Financial resources needed to develop media campaign--both material development and air time, if necessary; develop youth campaign; conduct benchmark and follow-up studies; and hire personnel as needed.

9. Public service announcements (PSAs) need to develop or have a cooperative relationship with the media; public speakers bureau; radio; TV; print; and media training for industry, e.g., "buddy" program in Delaware;

10. Youth programs to educate and involve various youth groups in both rural and urban environments; and FFA, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.

11. Develop specific details for media success stories; and credible.

12. Field days/tours/outreach biosecurity issue.

13. Media recognition program for fair and objective reporting; credible; and award given even if story not pro-industry.

14. Determine impacts---see industry section

Example Process for Development of an Education, Training and Communication


One important aspect of a new program or initiative is the educational or informational opportunity for influencing targeted audiences. When implementing a new program or initiative, education of the target audience and communication with those who may be involved must occur simultaneously for maximum informational purposes. If the public is to properly understand and participate in the process they must understand both technical and fairness aspects of decisions. The public participates in this process every time they vote, interact with a congressional representative, read an article and never question the validity of the information, demand regulations, vote with their marketing dollar, etc. There is a requirement for the participation of an educated producer community to develop and implement solutions. Agricultural producers also need reliable information about the effectiveness of pollution prevention


Traditional sources may be utilized for education and communication activities such as the Cooperative Extension Service (CES), soil and water conservation districts, state and regional agencies such as NRCS, federal partners, agricultural associations, consultants/advisors, and local governments. A stakeholder process may be used for resource management planning and implementation. It may be necessary to have an expansion of the sources for education and communication to include a well coordinated effort using resources of agricultural, conservation and environmental organizations and agencies.

In preparing an education and communication program, careful consideration should be given to the following components:

Develop a Vision and Mission Statement. Everyone involved must understand what is necessary to achieve shared objectives. The mission and vision statements should recognize the role of stakeholders and shareholders and involve a cross-section of the

community, such as agricultural producers, non-farm community members,







The Research and Innovative Technologies Workgroup has developed the following needs for additional investigation in dealing with nutrients associated with poultry production and processing. They are:

A. Mass Balance of Nutrients

B. Re-Distribution of Nutrients

C. Energy Options

D. Water Quality

E. Dietary Management for Waste Stream Reduction

F. Public Health Issues

G. Alternative Use Policy Research/Overcoming Barriers

H. Other Issues

I. Electronic Data Bases (Tools for use with A-H above)

The items (A-I) above are presented in more detail as follows:



As animal agriculture and crop production has become more specialized and separated this has led to a disrupted nutrient flow. Past efforts in manure management have concentrated on optimizing utilization of the nutrients in the manure for crop production. Efforts are now needed to manage both the input of nutrients as well as account for nutrient use and movement in outputs such as meat/egg products and nutrients that might remain on the farm as in bird mortality or cover crops.


A systems approach should be applied to manage both nutrient input and output on the farm taking into account the contributions from various inputs and outputs. Such a system would help in management of specific nutrients. Specifically that of N, P, Ar, Cu, Zn and Se. In soils where long term application of manure has occurred, soil levels of these nutrients continue to climb. While N and P have water quality concerns, continued buildup of soil Cu and Zn could negatively impact future crop production. Since use of manure nutrients is primarily for fertilizer, limiting excretion of specific nutrients would have value to continue use of manure as a fertilizer. Reduced excretion could be obtained by improving utilization of feed nutrients via genetic improvements in poultry or improving availability of nutrients in the feed ingredients through processing or genetics. Absorption of some minerals is relatively poor and dependent on chemical form in feed or supplement.

A nutrient based approach would overcome some of the limitations of using animal units as a basis for regulatory action. Ongoing genetic selection for improved production has implications for feed intake, feed utilization, and shortened production times and ultimately nutrients voided. Thus manure characteristics and amounts have changed and these changes are not accounted for in the animal unit calculation. Plus interpolation of values from one species to another

is questionable.

The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has introduced the need for establishing conservation plans for waste management systems that apply specific concepts to account for nutrient management. Need to consider soil and crop needs, not animal units. Animal units may have future expansion.


a. Develop computer software so farmers can make nutrient management decisions.

b. Develop systems approach and appropriate use of storage facilities to help with mass balance of nutrients for nutrient management to balance and enhance nutrient utilization.

c. Examine replacement of "animal unit" system with that aimed at nutrient balance

d. Conduct research to improve utilization of individual nutrients through

1. digestive and metabolic studies

2. genetic enhancement of efficiency of nutrient utilization in poultry products

3. examination of feed/ingredient processing

4. genetic modification of feed ingredients

e. Identify/prioritize nutrient inputs and losses and recovery methods.

1. develop methods for calibration of manure spreading equipment.

2. need educational programs to assist or certify producers/farmers.

3. develop new types of spreading equipment.

4. develop new methods for processing and marketing poultry manure and transport to different locations.

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, USEPA, feed/grain associations, poultry associations, allied feed/ingredient suppliers, state agencies.

Time line

Short term (1-2 yr):

Obtain funding

Complete animal unit study

Complete systems study

Long term (5 yrs)

Conduct animal/ingredient research


1. Nutrient Separation Technology


Currently, raw poultry litter has equal portions of available nitrogen and phosphorus. Normal requirements for plant uptake is more nitrogen than phosphorus by a ratio of approximately three or four to one. This means that there is excess phosphorus in the raw litter.


A good long term goal is to reduce the amount of phosphorus in raw litter so that the litter may be directly land applied at agronomic rates. Other strategies may reduce the level of phosphorus in the litter, but not sufficiently to achieve an agronomic ratio. Therefore, the idea would be either to remove enough phosphorus to bring the residual litter in balance or to totally separate the nutrients in order to reduce their bulk to make them economically to ship. Presumable, these nutrients would then be shipped to where they may be beneficially used as fertilizers.


a. Research entities should be encouraged to investigate methods to separate nutrients from raw litter in an economical fashion in order that they may be sold to farmers elsewhere for beneficial use. Nitrogen is the most volatile of these nutrients and needs to be preserved if the value of the nutrients is to be maintained.

b. One strategy would be to remove phosphorus from the mix to an agronomic ratio of nutrients and then the residual land applied as fertilizer. The removed phosphorus would be reduced in weight and sold to farmers elsewhere.

c. Another strategy would be to totally reduce the volumes of all nutrients and ship them to farmers elsewhere.

d. Another strategy might be to use a litter bedding material that can be washed,

dried, and reused with the nutrients collected in the washing.

e. Some separation of nutrients will take place if entities turn litter into some form of fuel. Theoretically, the non-volatile nutrients will remain in the residue.

f. Regardless of the strategy, it is important to remember that the organic nature of the litter be maintained if the value is to be preserved. Organic fertilizers are in demand and it appears that their demand may increase in the future.

Suggested Funding

USEPA, USDA, organic farmers, poultry companies, entities interested in litter to fuel, state agencies.

Time Line

Within the next five years, technology should be developed to separate nutrients from poultry litter.

2. Composting


Composting is a method by which aerobic bacterial decomposition is encouraged. Virtually any organic material will compost, while under ideal conditions of moisture, temperature, pH, and C:N, composting occurs more rapidly and more completely. Composting has become a popular method of mortality disposal over the last decade and as environmental restrictions of other traditional methods of dead disposal have been looked on with disfavor. Composting of poultry litter should be encouraged as a way to stabilize and deodorize the product for redistribution.


Composting is easily performed in an on farm location. It has relatively low odor production and because of the high temperatures produced, pathogens are virtually eliminated from the material in a relatively short time.


Continue the emphasis on encouraging industry to compost mortality increase efforts on composting poultry litter with other waste products and development of value added products.

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, poultry companies, organic groups, state agencies, etc.

Time Line

Increase on-farm composting or commercial composting of poultry waste by 50% in 5 years.

3. Raw vs. Processing Litter


The spread of raw litter has been coming under close scrutiny in recent years. Contributing to the problem has been increases in production, further concentration of the industry in the SE, and the targeting of the industry as an environmental polluter. Processing of litter may alleviate the potential of pollution by reducing the volatile nature of the product, enhance is marketability by ease of handling, improve the uniformity of the product, and reduce its odor.


While the processing of litter by any method will increase the cost of handling, it may also make the product more environmental acceptable and incase its value.


Develop relatively inexpensive methods to process litter into a less volatile product. Develop methods to ensure uniformity of the end product to the user.

Suggestion Funding Sources

USDA, poultry companies, organic groups, state agencies, etc.

Time Line

Double the number of processes and products in 5 years.

4. Effect of Waste Storage


Poultry waste has traditional been used as a fertilizer/soil amendment for various crops. However, cleanout of broiler houses typically is at a different time of years than fertilizer application. Therefore, the litter must be stored for a period of time prior to spreading on the land. Several issues develop when considering waste storage including, leaching and volatilization of nutrients which both have the potential for environmental contamination and loss of value as a fertilizer.


Storage time alone will have an impact on the quality and nutrient value of litter. However, proper storage can reduce or eliminate leaching of nutrients and slow the volatilization. Therefore, the question of storage time is really less important that storage facilities.


a. Encourage proper storage procedures while discouraging the "uncovered manure pile".

b. Proper storage includes, cover from the elements and possibly an impermeable substrate.

c. Determine nutrient loss to the atmosphere, soild, and water from various storage practices.

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, USEPA Cooperative Extension (time), State’s Ag Departments, poultry companies, etc.

Time Line

Decrease the number of on-farm "uncovered manure piles" by 50% in 5 years.

5. Marketing


In years past, litter and other potentially valuable poultry waste products have been virtually given away. With increases in cost associated with processing of the material into fertilizers, soil amendments, feed stuffs for livestock, etc., the cost of the product must reflect the cost increases in processing. Once various processing methods are identified and the resulting products are considered usable by other industries. End users must be convinced that the products are safe and effective.


The strategy is dependent on the development of processing technologies. So, when processing technologies are planned and developed, the end user of the potential product must be consulted as to their needs and desires. Design and produce products consumers want instead of trying to convince them to use a product that we want to produce.


Work closely with development of processing technologies to determine the usability of the end product.

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, poultry companies, organic groups, ornamental nursery groups, state agencies, etc.

Time Line

Work closely with processing of waste and follow their time line.

6. Threshold P values for nutrient plans


Phosphorus (P) is becoming the manure nutrient that will be the indicator for agronomic spreading rate on crop lands. Historically nitrogen has been used however, because of the less volatile nature of P relative to nitrogen, P tends to stay put and some are beginning to realize P levels which are too high to some soils may become soluble and leach into ground water and run off into surface waters.


P soil values have been ignored until recently when problems have occurred. Since P has not been followed closely, and there is evidence that some soils have naturally high levels of P, it is important that actual levels be determined before application rates are determined.


a. Determine threshold soil levels of P in various areas of the country

b. Determine P uptake by various crops

c. Determine practical application rates for each soil and crop combination

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, USEPA, poultry companies, State Departments of Ag, etc.

Time Line

3 Years.



There are numerous waste-to-energy options that are technically viable and environmentally sound. Litter, layer manure, and liquid waste streams from processing facilities can all be transformed into energy through one or more conversion technologies. Principal conversion technologies include:

1. Combustion/gasification

2. Densification (for subsequent combustion/gasification)

3. Anaerobic digestion

4. Enzymatic conversion

Most of these technologies are subject to economies of scale and, in general, are economically feasible only for relatively large farms or centralized (off-farm) conversion facilities. However, numerous efforts are underway to develop cost-effective systems for farm-scale applications.

A variety of barriers currently constrain widespread deployment of these conversion technologies. Technical and/or logistical obstacles need to be addressed through specific research, assessment, and demonstration activities. Recommended research areas are noted below.


The principal technologies for converting soild and/or liquid poultry wastes and byproducts into usable forms of energy include:

1. Combustion/gasification ("burning"): These technologies are more applicable to solid materials such as broiler or turkey litter. Energy products include:

a) heated air for space heating or crop drying; and

b) steam for thermal application and/or electricity production (through an turbine generator).

Combustion/gasification systems range in size from small, farm-scale units used for space heating and/or electricity generation to large-scale, centralized cogeneration systems that produce 10-40 MW of electricity (consuming 125,000-500,000 tons per year of litter, respectively).

Combination systems must ensure that Nox production (as a result of combustion of the nitrogen in the litter) is within regulatory limits. Large-scale systems will likely require sophisticated scrubbers and will need to be permitted; smaller (farm-scale) systems may be exempt. All of the phosphorous and potassium contained in the litter will be conserved during the combustion process, i.e. these nutrients will pass through the system and end up in the ash. The dry, phosphorous-rich ash has significant commercial value as a fertilizer product.

In theory, combustion/gasification systems can also serve as incinerators for poultry mortality. In practice, potential emissions must be considered and the mortality must be blended with sufficient fuel to ensure sustained combustion. On-site mortality handling and storage issues must also be addressed. Mortality incineration options warrant further evaluation as they could provide substantial benefits to poultry producers, particularly for on-farm systems.

2. Densification: Poultry litter can be densified into pellets, cubes, or similar solid fuels. Densification facilitates storage, handling, transportation, and subsequent combustion (combustion systems can be more efficient when using homogenous fuels that can be metered into the combustion chamber). The densified materials can be used on-site or can be sold into off-site fuel markets. Pelletizing operations require the feedstocks to be dried to 8-10% moisture prior to processing. Poultry litter is relatively abrasive and results in high equipment maintenance costs.

Several litter pelletizing facilities are currently in operation around the country, although their products are sold primarily into horticultural or cattle feed markets and not as biomass fuels. These operations typically use 5,000 0 50,000 tons of litter per year per facility.

A portable or small-scale pelletizing system would enable on-farm processing and use. However, such a system would need to include a litter dryer (a large and expensive component). Alternatively, densification technologies need to be developed that can process higher-moisture feedstocks and avoid the need for pre-drying.

3. Anaerobic digestion: This biological conversion process--in which microbes, in the absence of air, convert the volatile organic constituents into biogas and water--is better suited to liquid or high-moisture materials such as layer manure or processing effluent. Biogas from digested manure is typically 55%-85% methane. The biogas can be handled and used similar to nature gas or propane, except that it is more corrosive, may be odiferous and, in general, cannot be economically compressed or stored. Biogas is readily usable for space heating, and can be used as fuel for internal combustion engines with minimal modification. The most common application is electricity generation from a stationary engine coupled to a generator, with some thermal energy obtained from a waste heat recovery system.

Although the basic process of biogas production through anaerobic digestion has been widely used for many years, many details of the process are still unknown and system efficiencies are still low. More effective microbes need to be identified or developed, alternative system designs need to be analyzed, and small-scale utilization systems need to be more cost-effective.

Compared to open lagoon systems, biogas recovery systems can mitigate odors and avoid direct venting of the methane-rich biogas from the lagoon into the atmosphere. Using biogas entails conversion of the methane to carbon dioxide, with attendant atmospheric benefits (methane is significantly more potent as a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide).

4. Enzymatic conversion: This process uses enzymes to biologically transform the cellulosic materials into intermediary products that are then converted into liquid fuels and/or industrial feedstocks. This technology has been under development in both the public sector. (E.g., U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and the private sector (e.g., BioProteus/MT&T Chemical) for many years.

This conversion technology appears to be emerging as a technically and economically viable process (at least one company is planning to establish commercial facilities using this technology and is seriously looking at poultry litter as a feedstock). Federal subsidies for ethanol enhance the economic viability of the process, although new technologies promise prices competitive to petroleum-based fuels without subsidies. If these claims can be met, this technology will offer substantial opportunities for large-scale, cost-effective, alternative poultry waste management practices that have significant environmental benefits.

Although these conversion technologies are generally subject to economies of scale (with larger facilities more economical), a variety of efforts are underway to develop and deploy cost-effective farm-scale systems. Additional efforts are needed to further evaluate and commercialize such options, as the direct benefits to the individual producers would be considerable. For example, space heating of poultry houses from on-farm litter combustion could results in substantial cost savings by displacing propane (moreover, displacement of propane with litter would lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gases); off-farm sales of litter-derived ash could provide additional revenues.


Additional research, assessments, and demonstration activities are needed to stimulate development and deployment of energy-based technologies that use litter, manure, and processing waste feedstocks.

a. National task force: A national task force should be established to identify and assess litter-to-energy options and promote and support industry efforts in this regard. The task force should consist of representatives from federal and state agencies, the poultry industry, the biomass energy industry, the research community, and the appropriate nonprofit organizations. Estimated support needed: $150,000 over a 36-month period.

b. On-farm litter [for fuel] storage options: There are significant issues associated with on-farm storage of litter for subsequent use. For example, litter that is deep-stacked (i.e., over 4-6 feet) has the potential for spontaneous combustion. Also, most state regulatory agencies require that stored litter be covered to prevent run-off during rain events. In many states, the NRCS has established specifications and, through programs like EQIP, has provided cost-share support for on-farm litter stacking sheds. NRCS is encouraged to identify other storage options that are specific to litter for fuel and are technically viable and economically feasible; Dialogue participants should actively support NRCS’s efforts in this regard.

c. Mobile pelletizing system: A litter pelletizing system that could be moved from farm to farm would have significant benefits. A prototype system should be developed and tested. Estimate support needed for this research: $250,000 over a 24-month period to design, fabricate, test, and evaluate the technology. The Pellet Fuels Institute, which represents the pellet industry in North America, should be a collaborator on this project.

d. Lower-cost pelletizing processes, including co-densification options: Alternative, less costly methods for pelletizing litter need to be identified and developed. Specifically needed are new densification technologies, additives or techniques to reduce frictions during the compression process, and methods to co-densify litter with other biomass materials. Estimate support needed for this research: $350,000 over a 36-month period to design, fabricate, test, and evaluate alternative technologies. The Pellet Fuels Institute and the National Forest Products Laboratory should be collaborators on this project.

e. Mortality incineration: The potential for combustion/gasification systems to incinerate mortality needs to be tested, evaluated, and demonstrated. Activities would build on farm-scale litter combustion systems currently being developed. Estimated support needed for this research: $50,000 over a 12-month period to test and evaluate incineration capabilities.

f. Farm-scale combustion/gasification systems: To facilitate commercialization of these on-farm litter management options that are currently being developed, additional support is needed for evaluation and demonstration (at commercial production facilities) of these technologies. Estimated support needed for this research: a) $200,000 over a 36-month period to evaluate two additional systems (two systems are already being evaluated through a DOE-funded project); and b) $200,000 over a 36-month period to field-demonstrate two additional systems, at two sites per system (two systems, at two sites per system, are already slated for demonstration through a DOE-funded project).

g. Ash management: As on-farm combustion/gasification systems are commercialized, ancillary efforts are needed to organize the collection and marketing of the litter-derived ash (to ensure that the phosphorous-and potassium-rich material is exported off of the farm). (Note: It is unrealistic to expect poultry producers to individually manage and sell their ash effectively. Either an entrepreneur could collect the ash from individual growers and sell the ash, or the growers could manage and market their ash collectively, through some type of cooperative mechanism). Estimated support needed for this activity:$150,000 over a 12-month period for each region of concentrated poultry production where the furnaces are deployed.

h. Anaerobic microbes: Anaerobic microbes need to be identified/developed specifically for efficient decomposition of layer manure or processing effluent. Estimated support needed for this activity: $125,000 over a 36-month period. Efforts should be coordinated with anaerobic digester development research currently underway (e.g., at the University of Florida).

i. Enzymatic conversion technologies: A comprehensive assessment of technologies available and under development is needed; the assessment will enable the poultry industry to integrate this option into its waste management plans and activities. Assistance is also needed to demonstrate enzymatic conversion of litter and/or other poultry wastes. Estimated support needed for these activities: a) comprehensive assessment: $125,000 over a 12-month period; b) demonstration support: $100,000 over a 24-month period.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA, USDOE, USDA, USDOC, NSF, poultry industry, state agencies

Time Line

See Recommendations


1. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)


Although nationally required levels of pollution control technology have been implemented by many of the major pollution sources, there are still many waters in the nation that do not meet the national goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for "fishable and swimmable". The waters not achieving these goals are addressed under section 303(d) of the CWA through the requirement that states identify such waters and develop TMDLs in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Point sources implement the wasteload allocations within TMDLs through enforceable water quality-based discharge limits in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits authorized under the CWA, while non-point sources achieve the prescribed loadings through a wide variety of programs which may be regulatory, non-regulatory, or incentive-based. Agricultural pollution, including CAFO’s, is the reason for many of these waters not achieving water quality goals.


TMDLs provide an opportunity to establish a watershed (or sub-watershed)-based approach to characterizing and mitigating point and non-point sources of pollutants which result in impairment of waters. To achieve these goals, states are required to assess all existing and readily available monitoring data in developing the list of waters not meeting, or expected to fail in meeting, water quality standards. The TMDL process requires integration of monitoring and source identification of waters; development and application of human health, aquatic, and wildlife criteria to characterize impairment and loading capacities for watersheds; and modeling for the fate, transport, and effects of pollutants.

The majority of TMDLs have been formulated for a single water body and are usually based on individual parameters. The modern generation of TMDLs will be generated for multiple water bodies, addressing multiple parameters, and deal with difficult to characterize non point sources of pollution. Development of these TMDLs will be an evolving process, requiring modification as new research, data, and technologies are developed.


a. Development of numeral thresholds for nitrogen, phosphorus, sediments and pathogens which may be associated with runoff or permeation into groundwater from poultry facilities.

b. Exploration of the potential impacts on water quality of agents associated with poultry husbandry, e.g., absorbents applied to poultry litter, antibiotics and other veterinary pharmaceuticals.

c. Methodologies to better model loadings of stressors (e.g., sediments, nutrients) based on farming practices, assimilative capacities of soils, hydrogeomorphic conditions.

d. Characterization of stressor-response profiles to better incorporate the temporal dimension, i.e., implications of land application of poultry waste at different times of the year, different frequencies, and under different meteorological conditions.

e. Refined analytical methods, e.g. the use of GIS, to examine the role of landscape features on loading of sediments, nutrients, and bacteria at the watershed scale.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA, USDA, poultry industry, state agencies

Time Line

3-5 years

2. DNA Fingerprinting to Determine the Nutrient Source


Two of the major water quality concerns associated with concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) are nutrient and bacterial loadings. There are several potential sources of nutrient loading to the aquatic environment, including: fertilizer applied to soil for the production of a wide range of crops, human sewerage and industrial discharge, CAFOs and air disposition. Human sewage, CAFOs, urban runoff associated with pet waste and wildlife are the most likely sources of bacterial contamination. In seeking management options to improve water quality, it is important, but often very difficult, to identify the sources of these contaminants.


Microbial source tracking, based on molecular biology techniques, is a rapidly evolving field and is playing a vital role in public health and epidemiology in tracking resistant pathogens. Applications of this technology are broadening and it holds promise for characterizing sources of bacterial contamination, differentiating between farm animal, human and wildlife waste pollution. Ultimately, farm animal waste may be differentiated to the species level and in many cases the specific farm. This technology is based on the development of a biotype library of "genetic fingerprints", determination of the resident strains specific to a given animal species or animals on a specific farm, and a comparison of field sample strains with the reference library. Researchers at Washington State University are establishing a national database for strains of coliform bacteria that is being used to explore the role of intensive bovine operations on water quality and the technology could be expanded to the poultry industry.

Although the main thrust of this science is for microbial source identification it is also applicable to nutrient source characterization. Dilution effects are a significant factor, however, with adequate characterization of the coliform populations of a waterway, the associated nutrients may be traced back to individual farms.


a. Examination of different fingerprinting methods (ribotyping, repetitive indexing, amplified fragment liked polymorphs, pulse filled gel electrophoresis) for precision, practicality, cost.

b. Enhancement of the reference biotype library of coliforms with poultry isolates.

c. Development of monitoring protocols for characterizing coliform populations in waterways and determining factors which impact the population, e.g., size, flows, depth, temperature, and other factors.

d. Exploration of the use of this technology in tracking other bacteria, e.g. resistant pathogens.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA - Clean Water Act Initiatives, USDA, poultry industry, state agencies, private foundations and organizations.

Time Line

5 years

3. Nitrogen Fingerprinting to Determine the Nutrient Source


Concern over the environmental impacts from the animal production industry has focused attention on the practice of land applying both liquid and dry wastes including litter from poultry houses. Animal production facilities are becoming larger and often concentrated in a given geographic area increasing the risk of pollution to the watershed. The question of impacts of animal waste nitrogen and phosphorus has become a nationwide issue. To better address issues of water quality concerns, the natural abundance differences in the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of nitrate and ammonia can be used to identify and differentiate the sources of nitrogen nutrients to aquatic ecosystems. The tracer isotope commonly used is 15N and has been used for municipal sewage treatment plant effluent characterization. Naturally occurring soil nitrogen can have a wide range of isotopic values, but natural soils generally have low nitrogen concentrations and therefore export little nitrogen. Additives such as chemical fertilizers, animal waste and litter can increase the nitrogen concentration. The isotopic nitrogen can vary depending upon the source.


Nitrogen inputs to a watershed come from a variety of sources. In support of efforts to manage pollution within the watershed, it is often necessary to identify the types or sources of the pollutants including nitrogen. Both surface and ground water must be monitored to adequately determine the impacts from various sources. The goal of these isotopic monitoring efforts is to quantify the impacts of various nutrient sources on water quality. It is anticipated that this methodology and resulting data will allow the tracing of various sources of nitrogen sufficiently far through the water transport system to allow the use of models to show the fate of various sources of nitrogen throughout a drainage basin. This will allow better informed environmental management and regulatory decisions regarding nitrogen loading from animal agriculture. It will support efforts to develop total maximum daily loadings (TMDL) for threatened or impaired watersheds.


a. Examination of nitrogen fingerprinting for precision, practicality, cost.

b. Develop models that can expand the application of verified models for determining different nitrogen sources.

c. Integration of nitrogen fingerprinting for TMDL development protocols.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA , USDA, poultry industry, state agencies, private foundations and organizations.

Time Line

5 years

4. Impact of Litter Additives on Nutrient Control


Litter additives are used to meet a number of goals including improved performance, reduce ammonia, lower energy costs, improve bird health, improve overall flock quality, enhance litter composition, extend litter life, and control nutrients. Additives may be microbial, enzymes, extracts, and chemical acid-base or binding agents. In recent years, nutrient control has become an important environmental concern. Nutrient management traditionally has focused on nitrogen but phosphorus has become the nutrient and pollutant of concern. Nutrient pollution has been identified in many waters of the United States. Although agriculture is not the only source, it is a source of nutrient pollution.


Nutrient control has become a major management factor for growers. Environmental quality protection as well as by-product use requires new and improved technologies. Methods for properly applying and managing nutrients to prevent release of excess nutrients is becoming very important to the growers and to the public. Technologies are needed that are economical while providing the desired protection or management controls. Additives are tools that need further development and evaluation as a way to reduce the threat of pollution while meeting the goals of the grower. Technology must consider how to reduce the pollutants of concern in the waste stream. Nutrient management plans need the technology as well as scientific justification for using litter additives to meet goals.


a. Exploration of potential impacts of litter additives on nutrient control and pollution prevention

b. Methodologies to better model loadings of potential pollutants based on agronomic practices, soils characteristics, surface and ground water conditions, application frequencies, application schedules, and different meteorological conditions.

c. Refined analytical methods to examine the role of landscape features on potential pollutant loading both on the farm and at the watershed scale.

d. Standardized sampling and analysis protocol for nutrients, especially phosphorus.

e. Development of numerical thresholds for potential pollutants, especially nitrogen, phosphorus and sediments which may impact surface and ground water.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA, USDA, poultry industry, state agencies, private foundations and organizations.

Time Line

3-5 years



The most logical approach to reducing nutrient losses from poultry production is to reduce the amount of nutrients exiting the bird. Several dietary manipulation concepts have been and continue to be explored which offer promising ways to optimize nutrient utilization. These include the use of enzymes to enhance the indigestible components of the diets, genetic alteration of ingredients so that they contain a higher level of digestible nutrients, accurate estimation of nutrient needs of the birds and establishing and maintaining a stringent ingredient nutrient profile and quality control program so that dietary excesses of nutrients are minimized.

While phosphorus has currently received the greatest attention as a wasted nutrient in poultry production, other nutrients such as nitrogen, and trace minerals, should also be considered in a holistic nutrient waste reduction program.

1. Enzyme Utilization/Application


The inability of poultry, particularly young rapidly growing birds, to digest 50-80% of the phosphorus in plant sources is a key reason for the loss of phosphorus into the manure. This indigestible plant source of phosphorus is known as phytic acid or phytate. Approximately 75% of the phosphorus consumed ends up in the feces. Phytic acid not only binds phosphorus but also magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and protein resulting in an unnecessary loss of these nutrients in the excreta. The enzyme phytase has been shown to be effective in breaking the indigestible bonds to release not only phosphorus but the other nutrients as well. A 45% higher phosphorus availability due to phytase coupled with a 20% reduction in inorganic phosphate results in a 30-50% reduction in phosphorus excretion. Unfortunately most phytase enzymes are not heat stable above temperatures of 165 o F and must be applied after pelleting. Also the minuscule amount of enzyme required per ton of feed makes the need for accurate enzyme application equipment essential for optimum distribution.


Research focuses should include the development of heat stable enzymes and accurate liquid application equipment as well as additional focus on the amount of inorganic phosphorus that can be taken out of the diets of poultry raised under commercial conditions when phytase is included in the diet.

Suggested Funding Sources

U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, poultry companies, and companies which develop and market enzyme products.

Time Line

3-5 years

2. Genetic Alteration of Ingredients


Several plant genetic companies are developing the technology to reduce the amount of phytate phosphorus in plant ingredients. Others are developing the technology to genetically insert the ability to produce phytase enzymes in the plant materials so that the phytate phosphorus can be digested when the ingredient is consumed by the animal. A low phytic acid mutant variety of corn has been identified that contains a 35% reduction in phytic acid and the available inorganic phosphorus level has been increased to approximately 65% thus earning it the name of high available phosphorus corn. Interest continues in developing varieties of high available phosphorus soybean meal. Research must be continued to determine the nutritional value of specialty ingredients in order to justify their use in commercial feed formulations.

Combining the use of enzymes and specialty ingredients could provide a synergistic effect in reducing nutrient losses by the birds. Initial work conducted by Philip Moore and associates (USDA-ARS) has shown that broilers consuming diets containing phytase and high available phosphorus corn and also containing 30% less total phosphorus than the recommended NRC values resulted in a decreased output of phosphorus in the excreta and a reduction in phosphorus in runoff water collected from small fescue plots. A continued focus on the actual reduction of phosphorus loss by the birds and the impact of reduced phosphorus in the litter when the litter is land applied must be continued to establish the environmental and economical value of enzymes and genetically altered ingredients.


Key to the success of specialty ingredients will be the ability of farmers to produce adequate amounts of the crops so that supply can meet demand. Feasibility studies will need to be conducted to determine the economics of supply and demand so that the production of specialty ingredients is a win/win situation for both the producers and the poultry integrators who will purchase and use the ingredients.

Suggested Funding Sources

American Soybean Association, American Grain Council, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and companies which develop the ingredients.

Time Line

4 years

3. Precision Nutrition


In recent years the speed and accuracy of computers has allowed the development of growth modeling programs which take into account a variety of factors such as strain and sex of bird, time of the year and ingredient available nutrient content before estimating the nutritional program that will provide the most economical growth, feed conversion and livability of birds. As companies fine tune these programs the next step which should be added to the models is how nutrient waste is influenced by the above factors. These same models could be taken one step further to include profiles of nutrient losses by the birds under a variety of rearing conditions and how these losses could be minimized through dietary manipulations.


Traditional research has focused heavily on growth, feed conversion and yield. Future research must include the development of nutrient waste profiles under a variety of bird rearing conditions. While a great deal of focus has been placed on the low availability of plant sources of phosphorus, there continues to be a great deal of variation in the bio-availability of different feed-grade phosphate sources. Because sufficient variation exists among and between commercially available sources, this indicates that a continued focus on minimizing this variation is necessary to assure out to ensure that products used in feed manufacturing are of adequate quality.

A large part of nitrogen losses experienced in poultry production are associated with the inefficiency of digestion and absorption. Through the use of precision nutrient formulation and phase feeding programs the excretion of nitrogen in the feces and urine may be reduced. The use of commercially available synthetic amino acids such as methionine and lysine have allowed the poultry industry to reduce the amount of protein required for optimum performance and consequently reduced nitrogen losses. As more amino acids become available for the feed industry, the limiting factor will be the current knowledge of the animals requirements for essential amino acids and this will need to be addressed through research. The continuous development and evolution of a more accurate data base on animal nutrient needs throughout the production cycle will allow more precise feed formulation to meet the amino acid/protein requirement and reduce nitrogen excretion. Such information will enable the nutritionist to apply the concept of ideal protein or balanced amino acids which match the animals carcass amino acid profile.

Suggested Funding Sources and Time Line

U. S. Poultry and Egg Association, companies which are currently developing precision nutrient management programs and phosphorus suppliers.

Time Line

3-5 years

4. Ingredient Quality Control


While accurate knowledge of nutrient needs is necessary for further reductions in nutrient wastes, this information is useless when the "bird available" nutrient content of the ingredients is not also accurately known. Traditional analyses of ingredients has been an after the fact estimation which forced the nutritionist to build in a safety margin of nutrients into the feed formulation. Should the ingredients come up short in available nutrients, the safety margin would assure the bird was not in jeopardy of an inadequate diet. Unfortunately the safety margin can have the reverse effect of wasted nutrients if the ingredient actually has more nutrients than the estimation.


Analytical methods such as near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIR) may allow for real time measurement and identification of the nutrient values of ingredients so delay between analyses and feed mixing is not an issue. Research should focus on economical and rapid ways to determine nutrient content prior to feed mixing with the potential to adjust feed formulations to account for the true nutrient content of the ingredients.

Suggested Funding Source

U. S. Poultry and Egg Association and equipment manufacturers.

Time Line

5 to 10 years


1. Use of Pharmaceuticals


It is well documented that the incidence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens is increasing worldwide. Most of the attention has been focused on the injudicious use of antibiotics in human medicine. However, the issue of antibiotic use in livestock, especially with regard to the use of these substances as growth promoters and for enhancing feed conversion, is attracting increasing attention. Due to changes in management practices, i.e., the growth of concentrated animal feedlot operations, there is growing concern that conditions are such that disease, especially those associated with difficult to treat organisms, can spread rapidly through a large number of animals in a herd or flock. In addition, microbiological and clinical evidence suggests that resistant bacteria might be passed from animals to humans, resulting in infections that are more difficult to treat. Concurrent with this evidence is the increase in the prevalence of anti-microbial resistant infections in human medicine and the question has been raised as to whether the changes in resistance patterns may be influenced by the use of antimicrobials in livestock production ("The Medical Impact of the Use of Antimicrobials in Food Animals", Proceedings of the World Health Organization Meeting, 1997).


These concerns are attracting a great deal of attention under the Administration’s Food Safety Initiative, are priorities of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), were the focus of several WHO conferences in the past year, and are the focus of a GAO investigation. These efforts have emphasized clinical and food safety concerns.

It appears that little attention has been paid to water quality issues which may be an emerging area of concern, i.e., whether the use of medicated animal feed alters the resistance patterns of pathogenic bacteria, capable of surviving in aquatic environments, in close proximity to animal operations. There are reports in the literature suggesting that alterations in microbial populations are occurring, however, the public health implications of these changes are still unclear.

Preliminary research from EPA, associated with the Neuse River in North Carolina, suggests that tetracycline and sulfarnethixionine, two commonly used antibiotics in the swine industry, persist for extensive periods in the environment, possibly more than a year (Personal Communication, National Exposure Research Laboratory, 1998). Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, recently approved for use in poultry operations, with applications pending for use in many other species, have been found in sewage treatment effluent, at levels which may alter the resistance patterns of known human pathogens, e.g., E. coli ("Drugged Waters: Does it matter the pharmaceuticals are turning up in the water supplies?", in Science News, March 1998). There are several publications reporting persistence of antimicrobials and changes in microbial resistance patterns associated with medicated feeds in aquaculture: oxolic acid use in Finland (Bjorklund et al., 1991) and Norway (Samuelsen et al., 1992); Nygaard et al., 1992); multiple resistances associated with the use of sulfonamides, chloramphenicol, tetracycline and nitrofurans in Japan (Aoki, 1975); and multiple resistances involving tetracycline, oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol, kanamycin, ampicillin and nitrofurantoin in the U.S. (McPherson et al., 1991).

The public health concerns associated with these agricultural practices could include drinking water and incidental exposure via the oral, dermal, ocular, and nasal pathways during aquatic recreation. In municipal drinking water systems, it is likely that disinfection would provide adequate safety against these pathogens, however, in small systems and private wells, these pathogens could pose a risk.


a. A comprehensive literature review of the commonly used veterinary pharmaceuticals in poultry feeding operations.

b. Based on this review and an understanding of the chemical properties of the agents, perform an assessment to determine which agents are most likely to persist in the aquatic environment and result in the development of resistant determinants.

c. Based on a and b, develop field studies to test hypotheses as to which pharmaceuticals would likely survive.

d. Research to determine if these resistant determinants pose a health risk

-- Survival in furficial aquifers/private well drinking water supplies (NRMRL-Cinn)

-- Sensitivity to disinfection

-- Risks associated with occupational exposure, e.g. watermen, and recreational exposure-dermal and incidental ingestion (CDCIP)

Suggested Funding Sources

Collaborative funding from USEPA, FDA, CDC, USDA and the poultry industry

Time Line

1 - 5 years

2. Nitrates in Groundwater

Agricultural practices have drastically altered the nitrogen cycle in many areas of the country as intensive agricultural production has consumed an increasing amount of nitrogen-based fertilizers, particularly corn, vegetables, other raw crops, forages, and recently concentrated animal feeding operations. The nitrate form of nitrogen is of concern due to the high water solubility of this ion and consequent leaching. Gradual increases in nitrate levels have occurred in many drinking water sources. It is estimated that the U.S. drinking water averages 1.3 mg nitrate/liter, contributing 2.0 mg/person/day to total daily intake of nitrate. However, in areas of high nitrate it may reach 160 mg/person/day. Methemoglobinemia is caused by high levels of nitrite, or indirectly from nitrate, in humans and was first reported in the U.S. in 1944. There also is evidence to suggest that exposure to elevated nitrates may have an impact on pregnancy outcomes. Since that time cases numbering in the thousands have been reported, mostly from rural areas and mostly involving poisonings in infants (Cassarett and Doull’s Toxicology, 1986).


While it is generally accepted that nitrate levels in groundwater may be elevated in agricultural areas, the potential contribution of concentrated animal feeding operations is unclear. Recent work in North Carolina (Personal Communication, N.C. Department of Health) has demonstrated a link between elevated levels and intensive swine operations. Poultry operations are also suspect in contributing to elevated levels based on monitoring results demonstrating a range of concentrations, 10-100 ppm, in aquifers associated with these facilities. These levels exceed the EPA Maximum Concentration Limit of 5 ppm (EPA Integrated Risk Information Systems, 1998). These observations require additional exploration, and if validated, it would be prudent to explore the public health implications of groundwater at existing farms and consider hydrogeologic features in decisions associated with expansion of existing facilities and siting new operations.


a. Epidemiologic studies of farm families and communities in close proximity, i.e., surveillance and tracing of cases of methemoglobinemia and adverse pregnancy outcomes, using hospital records or other means.

b. Modeling loadings of nitrate based on soil capacity and hydrogeologic characteristics to determine the number of animal units which can be sustained without adverse water quality impacts.

Suggested Funding Sources

USEPA, US Geological Survey, State Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA, Poultry Industry

Time Line

1 - 5 years

3. Airborne Exposure to Gases, Dusts, and Pathogens


The air of poultry houses may contain a range of noxious substances, e.g.: ammonia, dusts, micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria, and fungi), microbial endotoxins and histamine. With occupational exposures, these conditions present the risk of the development of respiratory disease such as rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic alveolitis and organic dust syndrome. Acute and chronic respiratory systems experienced by poultry house workers include: coughing, wheezing, excessive mucous secretion, shortness of breath, and tightness. Pulmonary function testing of workers has provided evidence suggesting not only the risk of chronic obstructive diseases such as chronic bronchitis and asthma, but also restrictive diseases such as chronic bronchitis hypersensitivity pneumonitis (Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety, 1998).


At a recent workshop on the "Public Health Issues Related to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)" (June, 1998, in preparation) a list of health concerns associated with CAFOs was developed. The health impacts discussed included allergies, immune responses, respiratory and dermatologic problems. Although most of the list was based upon observations associated with swine operations, there was general agreement that many of these concerns need to be explored with regard to the poultry industry.

It is generally assumed that swine facilities, especially with regard to waste lagoons, present more likely scenarios for exposure to airborne contaminants associated with CAFO’s. However, the overlapping issue of the need to maintain air quality in any CAFO housing, to maintain the health and productivity of the animals, suggests that some poultry facilities may present similar exposure scenarios. Poultry houses require significant ventilation to remove heat and humidity, and subsequently significant amounts of dust, odors, gases, pathogens, etc., may be transported out of the houses.

Based on these discussions and the documented health impacts of occupational exposure, the health impacts of airborne exposure contaminants from poultry houses warrants additional investigation.


a. Exposure Studies - detailed examination of what types of substances are emitted from poultry houses and how far these substances travel.

b. Epidemiological Studies - Track illnesses which may be related to potential exposures identified with the exposure studies.

c. Controlled clinical studies of physiologic responses to the agents and dose-response determinations

d. Continued exploration of occupational exposure issues.

Suggested Funding Sources

National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, Department of Agriculture, State Departments of Health, Poultry Industry

Time Line

1-5 years

4. Odor & Insect Issues


The recent concerns from the public sector directed towards the poultry farmer have included the issue of odor and insect control It appears that public perception is that the typical poultry farm is "smelly" and full of bugs, flies, etc. Efforts must be undertaken to educate the general public that these perceived conditions are being managed as well as they can be with the best available technology.


Most farmers do have insect control programs in place that have been supported and encouraged by the integrator. These programs have included such practices as periodic spraying for flies, the use of granules that are spread on the litter between flocks for bug control and the use of a feed additive to control larvae in the excrement in breeder pits. Odor control follows many of the guidelines that the poultry farmer uses for insect control. Again, efforts should be made to highlight and promote those programs that are, and have been, in place regarding odor issues.


The following recommendations could aid in educating the public sector

a. Promote more extensive Integrate Pest Management (IPM) programs.

b. Promote the use of granules in the surrounding areas of poultry houses.

c. Explore the use of feed additives that aid in the control of fly larvae in the bird houses.

d. Initiate "BMP’s" for improved and maintained housekeeping surrounding the houses.

e. Initiate programs that aid in educating the grower in the proper use of composting.

f. Develop "BMP’s" for existing composting systems for proper maintenance.

g. Encourage the practice of incorporating litter or manure into the ground as it is distributed to the fields for land application.

h. Explore the use of masking agents that are used in municipal treatment plants that could be used to aid in the control of odor, specifically in pit systems.

i. Promote all general practices through poultry support groups.

Suggested Funding Sources

National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, Department of Agriculture, State Departments of Health, Poultry Industry

Time Line

1-5 years


1. Agronomic Benefits


There is insufficient science-based data regarding agronomic benefits from use of litter/manure-derived products.


There are benefits to applying compost to soils that are documented but not quantified. Some of these benefits are improved soil structure, increased water holding capacity, slow release of nutrients, increased microbial activity, pest control and pathogen control. While these effects are documented, the information is not readily usable. A farmer or crop advisor cannot assign a direct relation to yield and pest control by adding a specified quantity of compost. It is not possible today to quantify the value per acre of adding organic matter in compost to

soil as an amendment.


Resources need to be directed at understanding the agronomic and economic benefits from the use of litter/manure derived products. This should include assessing the full spectrum of benefits from use of such materials, including both nutrient and non-nutrient attributes.

Phase 1: Coordinating the current research into a central location could be done in one year. Funding would be nominal and once a framework was established current research could be adapted.

Phase II: New research and demonstration projects.

Suggested Funding Source

USDA, state agencies, private sector cooperators.

Time Line

Phase I-- 12-18 months

Phase II -- 3-5 years

2. Alternative Use Technologies


Economic considerations for various policy recommendations which support alternative use technologies are not clearly defined.


There are many real and perceived constraints that differ across areas of the country. Different localities have different constraints. Alternative strategies must minimize the negative economic consequences for integrators, growers, and rural communities. Alternative use strategies should be designed to minimize the amount of effort/labor and cost required by all constituents. Accordingly, alternative use strategies should, in general, entail off-farm processing and management activities, minimizing the amount of time and effort associated with

farm-level manure management.


a. Resources must be directed toward less intrusive policy alternatives to traditional regulatory oversight policies. Coordinating this type of current research into a central location could be done in one year. Efforts should be coordinated with non-agricultural institutions like the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institute or the Hudson Institute who have been working in this area regarding federal regulations in general. Funding would be nominal and once a framework was established current research could be adapted.

b. Large-scale, regionally coordinated alternative use options that could serve entire areas of concentrated production should be evaluated. Detailed studies should be initiated to assess the feasibility of each major option. Government support will probably be necessary to help cover the costs of such evaluations. Existing Input-Output models could be modified by the administering centers to include movement of material through regionally coordinated structures. This work should be done by increasing new funding proposals by the amount necessary to accomplish the task.

c. Identify the pros and cons, including projected benefits and costs, with each alternative solution. Organizations that see the potential to generate new products and revenue from organic material, universities, USDA, private sector firms, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Foundation for Organic Resources Management or the Composting Council, need to coordinate research on benefits and costs of implementing new techniques for alternative management of manure.

3. Economics


There exists little data on manure management. Much of the data that exists is has been constructed from estimates.


There is anecdotal evidence that manure management has costs attached to it. Dry litter facilities have more cost information available than wet facilities because they often contract clean out services. Without research on actual costs and prices that producers receive across

the country, it is difficult to understand the potential for generating revenue and the cost of treating manure stocks as waste products.


a. Resources must be at establishing baseline costs for handling manure/litter so that new manure policies accurately reflect grower situations.

b. Resources must be directed at analyzing raw and manure-derived product markets. It is not uncommon for value to be added at several points in the marketing process. Utilize current input-output models as described above. In addition, surveys of existing value-adding structures and processes could provide very useful information.

Funding Sources

USDA, USEPA, state agencies, private sector cooperators, private foundations

Time Line

1-3 years.



These issues represent a broad view of many relevant potential sources for environmental impact other than those delineated in the preceding sections of this report. They are included here to provide a through discussion of the breadth of the issues and the need for research in areas beyond those more commonly discussed.


Transportation Cage Design - Many processors are growing the birds to a higher live weight and as a result the birds are so large that in transportation there is excessive surface contamination of the birds with feces and litter because of cramped cages.

Cage Washing Systems - Washing and sanitizing cages is problematic. Systems that are effective and cost efficient do not appear to be readily available.

Feather Containment - Design of holding sheds and unloading docks for containment of feathers.

Water Conservation and Reuse - Processing, cleaning and sanitizing operations are all water intensive and even small gains in efficiency of water use or ability to reuse water can make significant differences in water and waste water treatment costs.

Utilization of Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) Solids - In treatment of poultry processing waste water these solids are the major class of solids generated as a by-product of the waste water treatment process. These solids have good potential for use as feed ingredients and there is some use of them in this area. Efficient technology for the conversion of these solids to feed ingredients is needed to expand their use in this area.

Nutrient Removal In Waste Water Treatment - Continued research of more cost efficient methods of waste water treatment and nutrient removal is needed. Industrial waste water treatment is not the same as domestic waste water treatment.

Environmental Impact of Workforce - Poultry processing complexes have need for a large workforce and often this results in an increase in the population in the area of the complex. Research to measure this impact on the environment may be worthwhile and useful in the siting of new complexes.


Numerous government and private agencies should have a vested interest in gaining insight into the impact of many of these questions. A through review of existing knowledge gained from other industrial or agricultural research should be conducted and appropriate research conducted.

Suggested Funding Sources

USDA, USEPA, state agencies, equipment manufactures, poultry industry, private foundations and organizations.

Time Line

3-5 years


Current Research Information System (CRIS)

CRIS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry. Projects are conducted or sponsored by USDA research agencies, state agricultural experiment stations, the state land-grant university system, other cooperating state institutions, and participants in USDA's National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. CRIS is a part of Science and Education Resources Development (SERD), Cooperative State Research,

Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).

Purpose: CRIS (Current Research Information System) is USDA's computer-based documentation and reporting system for ongoing agricultural, food and nutrition, and forestry research. CRIS is designed to provide ready access to information about research conducted primarily within the USDA/state agricultural research system. You can use CRIS to plan research, avoid costly duplication, determine current areas of emphasis, or establish valuable contacts.

File Content: CRIS contains over 30,000 descriptions of current, publicly supported agricultural and forestry research projects of the USDA agencies, the State Agricultural Experiment Stations, the state university land-grant system, and other cooperating state institutions. Approximately 4,000 new project descriptions and about 20,000 progress and publication reports updating existing projects are entered in CRIS annually. The database is updated weekly.

Record Content: The basic unit of project documentation in CRIS is the Research Work Unit. Typically, this is a three- to five-year research activity at a single location. The research generally focuses on a clearly definable problem, a manageable phase of a larger problem, or a few

closely related elements of a broad-based research program. Each project includes information on:

§ WHAT is being done.

§ WHO is doing it.

§ WHERE it is being conducted.

§ WHEN it is performed.

§ PROGRESS achieved.

§ PUBLICATIONS produced.

Subject Coverage: Research projects are typically problem oriented.

Areas of research included in CRIS are:

§ Management, conservation, and use of soil, water, forest, and range resources.

§ Protection of crops and livestock from insects, diseases, pests, and other hazards.

§ Biological efficiency and production management systems for crops, livestock, poultry, and fish.

§ Farm and forest product development, and improvement of product quality. Marketing of crop, animal, and forest products.

§ Foreign trade and market development.

§ Food and human nutrition, health and safety, and consumer protection.

§ Rural and community development.

§ Family resource management and use.

§ Fish and wildlife management, outdoor recreation, pollution, and environmental quality.

Subfiles: The CRIS technical database also contains several subfiles on agricultural and related research conducted by other federal agencies and foreign institutions.

For a search of currently funded research at USDA research agencies, state agricultural experiment stations, the state land-grant university system, other cooperating state institutions, and participants in USDA's National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, go to the Current Research Information Service (CRIS) Internet site: http://cristel.nal.usda.gov:8080/

United States Department of Agriculture

Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service

Science and Education Resources Development

Current Research Information System

National Agricultural Library Building, 5th Floor

10301 Baltimore Avenue

Beltsville, Maryland 20705, U.S.A.

Phone: (301) 504-6846 Fax: (301) 504-6272

E-mail: http://cristel.nal.usda.gov:8080


AGRICOLA (Agricultural Online Access), the agriculture index and library catalog of the National Agricultural Library (NAL), ARS/USDA, is now available for searching via the internet. AGRICOLA, begun in 1970, covers a wide range of materials dating from the 16th century to the present. It is organized into two bibliographic data sets -- one for book citations and one for journal article citations -- which must be searched separately.

AGRICOLA, and appropriate search instructions, are available at the website: http://www.nal.usda.gov/ag98/ag98.html For a text-oriented interface for searching the two data sets, telnet to: opac.nal.usda.gov Log in as ISIS. AGRICOLA can also be accessed, both online and on CD-ROM, for a fee through several commercial vendors, or at no charge through many public and university libraries.