Walker Poultry Farm Recognised for Environmental Excellence18 February 2014
US - Walker Poultry Farm in Fort Seybert, West Virginia, was one of six farms across the United States to receive US Poultry & Egg Association’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award during the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo, in Atlanta.
US Poultry & Egg Association (USPoultry) sponsors the annual awards in recognition of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques, and participation in education or outreach programmes. Applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies, and state trade associations in selecting national winners in six regions.
Walker Poultry Farm is a second-generation farm, owned and operated by Dale and Melinda Walker. The farm is comprised of six broiler houses with a maximum capacity of 191,000 birds per flock. The farm also supports a 10-head cow/calf operation, along with 10 sheep and a horse. The Walkers are growers for Pilgrim’s and were recognised as a finalist in the 2013 USPoultry Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award programme.
Walker Poultry Farm is committed to environmental stewardship and protecting the environment through best management practices. The farm was recognsed with the Golden Feather Award for environmental stewardship from 2006 through 2008 by the West Virginia Poultry Federation. Walker Poultry Farm was recently awarded the 2013 West Virginia Poultry Association Environmental Farm of the Year, based on the Walker’s implementation of extensive voluntary environmental practices.
The Walkers maintain a nutrient management plan for litter management, with 98 per cent of the farm’s litter sold to third parties. The remaining two per cent is used as an organic fertiliser and soil conditioner for the farm’s pasture and hay fields. Proper bird disposal is accomplished via composting for mortality.
With an appreciation for wildlife, the Walkers have set aside 25 acres of their 66-acre farm for wildlife habitat development and management. The Walkers practice an intensive rotational grazing program for the pasture and use flash grazing on the stream bank. This limits the amount of time and access livestock have to the stream, protecting it from erosion and nutrients, while allowing managed grazing.
Elton Maddox, 2014 USPoultry chairman and president and CEO of Wayne Farms, Oakwood, Georgia, presented the award to the Walker family.
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