Perdue Farms and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay are collaborating to bring nature-based and water quality conservation practices throughout Perdue Farm’s Pennsylvania-based supply chain. This sustainable poultry project is modeled after the Alliance’s work in the dairy industry.
Since 2009, Perdue Farms has partnered with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay as part of Project Clean Stream, engaging with their associates and communities around the watershed to remove trash from parks and local waterways.
Perdue Farms staff volunteer with Project Clean Stream to remove trash from the Coty Cox Branch of the Wicomico River in Salisbury, Md., on April 5, 2014. (Photo by Steve Droter/Chesapeake Bay Program)
One of Perdue Farm’s core values is stewardship and commitment to protecting the environment, all while providing “responsible food and agriculture.” More recently the company, inspired by work done in Pennsylvania in the dairy sector, is excited to pilot conservation and sustainability initiatives with their organic farmers.
Perdue Farms also responded to regional farmer councils who wanted to see more support to improving farm operations across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Collectively, farmers are interested in advancing their operations with the best technology to provide healthy chickens, while also contributing to a healthy environment.
The partnership will install on-farm best management practices to support a reduction of water quality pollutants (phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediments) to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, the practices provide a variety of air quality, energy savings, wildlife, and pollinator benefits.
The initiative has prioritized approximately 80 growers in Pennsylvania.
To date, the partnership has planted more than 800 trees, built one manure storage, and improved on-farm stormwater drainage.
Initial funding for the project comes from a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Perdue Farm’s corporate commitment to support the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will utilize Perdue Farm’s funds to leverage additional grant funding to implement conservation plans and innovative on-farm environmental practices. The solutions range from animal waste storage systems and other nature-based sustainable farming practices that support cleaner farms, and add biodiversity to their operations.
– A Lancaster County poultry farmer
Outreach has begun throughout south-central Pennsylvania. Perdue Farms and the Alliance are building a list of their conservation needs to guide the program’s priorities. Practices that are of top interest include riparian buffers, vegetative buffers (read this blog post about the benefits), composted manure sheds, and improved stormwater management.