WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Technology Bridges Gap Between Maryland's Farmers And Environmentalists

Play associated audio

In Maryland, a new solution to help ease the tension between the state's agricultural industry and environmental groups, which have long been at odds over what to do with the half million tons of poultry manure produced in the state each year, has been brought to the state Senate floor.

Farmers see poultry manure as a valuable resource: good to spread back onto their land as fertilizer. Environmentalists, on the other hand, say it's a major polluter and the phosphorous and nitrates it contains seeps into the local waterways and eventually ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.

Recent proposals like the Phosphorous Management Tool have drawn criticism from those in the agricultural community, but yesterday a bill was was introduced in the Senate with bi-partisan support and the initial backing from a number of players in both the agricultural Industry and environmental groups.

The bill focuses on financially self-sustaining waste-to-energy cooperatives featuring anaerobic poultry bio-digesters. These digesters would not only capture the nutrients and turn the poultry manure into fertilizer, but they would also create a methane gas that could be used to power and heat the family farm. According to environmentalists, using more nutrients this would improve both water and soil quality.

"We're not shifting the debate, we are ending the debate with this technology. It makes those discussions obsolete," says Steven Bolgiano, the president of Planetfound, a privately run company that will break ground on the first poultry bio-digester in the state later this week.

The pilot plant in Pocomoke, Md. will be 26 killowatts, enough to handle 100 percent of the waste created at one family farm. But the bill outlines future plans for larger 260-kilowatt biogas coops that could handle up to ten farms apiece.

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Thanksgiving Buzz: What Would Pilgrims Say About The Plight Of Bees?

When you sit down for your holiday dinner, you may want to give thanks to bees and other pollinators. Their health is tied to your food. What's behind the bee declines? Watch our video investigation.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.