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.

NPR

Ursula K. Le Guin Steers Her Craft Into A New Century

The famed novelist says that at 85 she no longer has the energy to write another book, but she's just released a revised and updated edition of her manual for aspiring writers, Steering the Craft.
NPR

#NPRreads: Middle East Air Quality, Lead Poisoning, And Jell-O

Around the newsroom and around the world, here's what we're reading this week.
NPR

Of The 900 Or So People Running For President, At Least 1 Of Them Is Nuts

A small group of presidential hopefuls get most of the media attention, but there are a lot of unknown people who also want the top job and filed the necessary paperwork. One of them is Deez Nuts.
NPR

No More Standing By The Spigot: Messaging App Alerts Water Availability

A startup in India — where an aging, ad hoc system limits water availability — is using text messages to let people know when their faucets should work, so they don't waste hours awaiting the deluge.

Leave a Comment

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