“Maryland’s chicken industry and farmers remain leaders in improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Already more heavily regulated than most American farmers, Maryland’s farmers face yet another set of requirements—the Phosphorus Management Tool,” said Bill Satterfield, executive director of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., in a column on Monday in  Delmarva Now.

“This tool is a risk management system to help farmers understand how much phosphorus a crop can use and what potential exists for phosphorus to move to waters of the state. It was designed at the University of Maryland as a planning tool—not as a regulation or state law. Yet then, Gov. Martin O’Malley pledged to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that this tool would be included in the state’s required Watershed Implementation Plan to improve the Chesapeake Bay,” Satterfield wrote.

Governor’s O’Malley’s Watershed Implementation Plan was withdrawn by Gov. Larry Hogan on his first day in office so the plan could be analyzed to determine how improvements could be made.  Governor Hogan unveiled his new proposal last week, which was supported by Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc., the Maryland Farm Bureau, and the Maryland Grain Producers Association, Satterfield said..

Hogan’s proposal would require use of a phosphorus management tool by state regulation. Unhappy with Hogan’s decision to withdraw O’Malley’s regulation, legislators in Annapolis introduced bills that largely mimic the O’Malley plan. That legislation is not in the best interests of Marylanders.

“Our opposition to the legislation does not mean Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. is opposed to a phosphorus management tool. Our concern is that a statute only can be changed by the General Assembly during its 90-day session. A regulation is more nimble and can be improved more quickly as new research and new conditions indicate adjustments are desired,” Satterfield wrote

“As former Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance told a legislative committee last week, Maryland farmers are at 150 percent of their 2017 phosphorus improvement goal. We are making progress, not lagging behind. Use of a science-based, common-sense phosphorus management tool can help, through regulation — not legislation.”

To read Satterfield’s column, click here.