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Environmentalists And Poultry Industry Square Off In Hudson Trial

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The first week of the lawsuit pitting an environmental group against an Eastern Shore farm family and poultry giant Perdue Farms is coming to a close at a federal court in Baltimore. Some believe this case could impact the future of farming.

Eastern Shore farmers Allen and Kristen Hudson are accused of polluting a stream with excess manure from their poultry farm.

The Hudsons grow thousands of chickens for the Salisbury based Perdue farms, who are also named in this suit, as environmentalists charge the billion dollar company for not taking responsibility for the pollution created by its contract growers.

Local farmers say if the Hudsons lose this case, it could open the door for future lawsuits against small family farms all across the nation.

Dr. Tom Jones is the president of the board of directors of the Assateague Coastal Trust. He says the claims that environmentalists are trying to kill the poultry industry or the family farm in the name of a cleaner Chesapeake bay are unfounded.

"All we got to do is solve a social issue here with this manure that we can't recycle like we used to," says Jones. "We used to recycle just by putting it on a farm field, but we've been doing it for so many years, we just can't do it that way anymore, so that's the only thing that's going to change here."

The bench trial is expected to last at least two to three weeks.

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