U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson has promised to issue his written decision in the Waterkeeper Alliance trial against Berlin, Maryland-based family farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson and Perdue Farms in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in Baltimore.  Judge Nickerson, appointed to the federal bench by former President George H.W. Bush,  heard closing arguments, without a jury, on November 30. Perdue Farms was named in the suit as the Waterkeeper Alliance said that the company controls how Hudson runs his farm and should share responsibility in managing its poultry manure.

Attorneys for the Waterkeeper Alliance argued manure leaving the poultry houses from ventilation fans and foot traffic polluted a ditch along the farm that leads to the Pocomoke River and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay.  The Hudsons were originally named in the lawsuit as the Waterkeeper Alliance claimed there was a large pile of chicken manure on the farm causing pollution, but it was later proven to be a biomass pile from a nearby town.  Perdue’s attorney argued that the environmental group failed to prove that chicken manure is found off the farm.

“These radical environmental activists used the taxpayer-funded University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic to wage a campaign against contemporary animal agriculture–and against a hardworking Maryland farm family,” Perdue Farms said in a statement following the close of the trial.  “The trial has finally come to a close, and the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic, despite three years of changing accusations, have failed to prove that the poultry houses on the Hudson Family farm were a source of pollution or that Perdue is responsible for the actions of its independent contractors.”

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