Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Producer's Records Becoming Public

Md. court rules nutrient plans can be made public
The Associated Press 2009-03-04

Nutrient management plans detailing how farmers handle animal waste will be made available to the public, a court has ruled.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court ruled on Tuesday that the plans, which describe pollution discharge practices of farming operations, will be made available for public scrutiny.

The ruling affects the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations that create, store or discharge animal waste.

The court ruling comes soon after a federal permitting deadline concerning the plans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said many Eastern Shore farmers missed the Friday deadline to apply for the newly required Environmental Protection Agency permit.

The permit called for more stringent nutrient management plans. It concerned many in the chicken industry because the application for the permit would make the plans publicly available.

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While this may not appear to be a big issue on the surface, this could have far reaching consequences for operations that have nutrient management plans. Imagine the process of trying to pass every management plan on a popularity vote. Science will not win the day in our society, which is a sad commentary for our country. Everything has to make people feel good in order to garner their support. Keep an eye on this issue.

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