The billion-dollar poultry industry has been a cornerstone of business on the Eastern Shore for decades.
Steven Bolgiano is a surfer, a former farmer, an environmentalist, and a businessman. And he believes his new company, Planet Found, could help to mend the rocky relationship between farmers, the industry, the government, and environmentalists.
"It's something that is going to change the face of the Eastern Shore of Maryland in a way that's going to be positive, and it's going to sustain the culture of farming," says Bolgiano.
Planet Found will create bio-gas and bio-electric using anaerobic digesters that have been uniquely outfitted to handle and process poultry litter by a company in Wales called Fre Energy. Bio-digesters are prevalent worldwide as a means to create fertilizer and renewable energy, but there are less than 200 hundred in the United States, and all of them process dairy and swine manure.
Local environmental groups are already throwing their support behind Planet Found, as they say they lean toward this technology rather than burn to energy plants, and some seem to agree that these bio-digesters will likely take the poultry industry's environmental concerns and turn them into profits for the farmer and a renewable energy source for the environment.
Bolgiano says he hopes the first digester will be erected on the Eastern Shore near Berlin by spring, but both he and environmentalists agree that to truly tackle the big problem of poultry manure on the shore, he'll need more than one bio-digester.