Poultry Farm Soil Tests Look For More Than Just Phosphorus

ILLINOIS - Farmers and their representatives call plans for extensive soil testing at farms along the Illinois River a witch hunt meant to provide ammunition for a lawsuit against poultry companies.

Fifteen farms were selected as candidates for extra testing based on a cooperative agreement between Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach.

Edmondson filed suit against eight poultry companies, including the world's largest poultry company, Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, and six subsidiaries of those companies in June for allegedly polluting the Illinois River with runoff from fields treated with poultry litter. The suit asks for unspecified monetary damages to repair the Illinois River and Lake Tenkiller.

The soil tests are to be conducted soon and include tests for arsenic, copper, zinc, several different bacteria as well as estrogen related hormones, according to information provided by Jack Carson, a spokesman with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Farmers on these sites already test their soil for phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium as part of a nutrient management plan controlled by the state's Registered Poultry Feeding Operations Act.

There is every indication these farms have followed the act and are in compliance with state law, said Marla Peek, director of regulatory affairs with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Source: The Morning News
calendar icon 1 July 2005
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