Testimony in the environmental trial between the Waterkeeper’s Alliance vs. Alan and Kristin Hudson have ended, but it will be another month before each side makes its closing argument and possibly even longer before U.S. District Court Judge William Nickerson issues a ruling in the case.

With an offer from Judge Nickerson to delay closing arguments in the trial, both sides agreed to submit post-trial statements by November 14, responses by November 21, and tentatively scheduled closing arguments for November 30.  In addition, all parties agreed to have Kristin Hudson’s name removed from the lawsuit and Nickerson granted the dismissal.  Although Kristin Hudson’s name and signature appear on some farm documents, both sides agreed she is not an owner or operator of the poultry farm.

The lawsuit, filed in March 2010 by the Waterkeeper’s Alliance, accused in a civil suit that Berlin, Maryland, farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson and Perdue Farms, for whom the Hudsons are contract growers, violated the Clean Water Act.  The violation was based on a pile of material on the property that was erroneously assumed to be chicken waste, but was instead municipal sewage sludge from Ocean City, Maryland, that was used to fertilize crops.  The Maryland Department of the Environment inspected the farm, confirmed the pile was biosolids, asked the Hudsons to move the pile, and the Hudsons complied.

Lawyers for the Waterkeeper’s Alliance argued manure leaving the poultry houses from ventilation fans and foot traffic polluted a ditch along the farm which leads to the Pocomoke River.  Perdue Farms was named in the suit with the Waterkeeper’s Alliance saying that the company controls how Hudson runs his farm and should share responsibility in managing its poultry manure.

The lawsuit is being watched closely as the outcome could have far reaching implications for the Delmarva chicken industry and family farms across the country.

SaveFarmFamilies.org is raising funds for Alan and Kristin Hudson.