A dispute that started three years ago when environmentalists accused an Eastern Shore chicken farm of polluting a stream that ultimately flows to the Chesapeake Bay began on Tuesday in a Baltimore federal courtroom.

A radical environmental group, The Waterkeepers Alliance, accused in a civil suit that Berlin, Maryland farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson and Perdue Farms, for whom the Hudsons are contract growers, of violating the Clean Water Act.  The violation was based on a pile of material on the property that was erroneously assumed to be chicken waste.

The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

“Governor O’Malley said it best–that this unfair attack on a family farm represents an ‘ongoing injustice’,” said NCC President Mike Brown in statement released to some media outlets in advance of the trial.  “The National Chicken Council and many other farm, agriculture, and meat and poultry groups outside of Delmarva have stood solidly together in support of the Hudson’s during this case–a case that has been based on assumptions rather than facts from the beginning.  We feel like it’s a lawsuit against all of us.”

“These actions by the Waterkeepers set a dangerous precedent for putting family farms out of business all over the country,” Brown continued.  “There are a lot of environmental groups who do a lot of good things.  This frivolous case gives them all a black eye.”

Perdue Farms’ pre-trial statement can be viewed by clicking here.

SaveFarmFamilies.org is raising funds for Alan and Kristin Hudson, and raising awareness about tactics being used and the implications those tactics could have for family farms across the country.