WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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Environmentalists Target Maryland Farm That Supplies Purdue

Mark Anderson: http://www.flickr.com/photos/macmoov/3445645444/

Environmental groups are facing off this week against a small farm in Eastern Maryland and big poultry producer Perdue Farms. 

The New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance is accusing the Hudson family farm of polluting the Pocomoke River with chicken manure. It's trying to hold Perdue responsible as well, since the smaller family farm supplies chickens to the giant poultry producer.

Maryland's Department of the Environment has already cited Hudson for improperly storing fertilizer - which is not related to chicken manure - and the family farm quickly resolved that issue.  

But the environmental group is pressing its own case, pointing to poor water quality near the farm and insisting the cause is chicken manure.  Lawyers for the farmers argue there is no scientific evidence of that.  

Farm groups say the suit could both bankrupt the Hudson Farm and set a harmful precedent of extraneous suits filed even after the state has settled the matter. 

Environmentalists argue they are simply targeting one polluter, and nothing will change if large poultry producers like Perdue aren't held responsible for their contractors. 

Chickens being transported via truck. A New York-based environmental group is claiming a Maryland chicken farm has contributed to unacceptable levels of pollution in one of the state's rivers. 

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