The owners of a 79-acre plot in Wicomico County, Maryland, near Salisbury, who had planned to build 13 chicken houses to supply chicken to Tyson Foods, Inc. have called off the plan and sold the property. The plot was sold for $545,000 on January 23, according to Maryland property records.  The sale brings an end to a two-year battle of outcry from a strong citizens group and grassroots opposition to the building plans.

Within months of the project’s permit being filed, about 400 people packed a Wicomico Civic Center to get answers from regulators about how they were dealing with large farms.  The County Council responded in September 2016 by passing tougher zoning regulations, requiring that farm buildings keep greater distances from neighboring houses.

The original plans called for the construction of 13 chicken houses on the plot, but was later trimmed down to 10, in light of strong opposition in the county from neighbors and environmentalists. Whether 13 or 10 chicken houses had been built, the project still would have been the largest of its kind in Wicomico history. Critics also singled out the proposed plans because of its presence directly above the Paleochannel, the drinking water source for Salisbury and Delmar.

The dispute also led to a circuit court case filed in 2017 by Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFOs.  The case was subsequently dismissed as a result of the group failing to submit the appropriate paperwork by the published deadline.

The new owners of the land plan to make the property into a sod farm and to grow organize cherry tomatoes.