Oklahoma Farmer Gives his View on Pollution Trial

OKLAHOMA, US - A poultry farmer offers his point of view over the on-going legal proceedings against a poultry company over the allegation that it has been polluting the Illinois River by the inappropriate disposal of poultry litter.
calendar icon 3 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

As the State of Oklahoma draws closer to a courtroom showdown with Tyson Foods, one local poultry farmer wants to set the record straight about poultry litter, according to Public Nuisance Wire.

Randy Allen, local poultry farmer and former contract employee with Simmons Foods, blasts the media for implying that poultry farmers dump poultry litter at random without prior consent.

"In order to be a poultry farmer here in Oklahoma, an individual has to go through a stringent process," Mr Allen observes. "As a poultry producer, a permit is required, followed by nine hours of training, with yearly fees and training mandated by the state."

Mr Allen takes offence at the tendency of liberal media outlets to misrepresent poultry litter as a dangerous pollutant and imply that farmers do not comply with federal and local laws.

"Poultry litter is a safe and non-toxic natural fertiliser containing calcium, organic material and a good supply of natural phosphorus," he asserts. "Oklahoma has laws that limit the amount of poultry litter an individual can apply to the land."

Mr Allen adds that poultry farmers are required to take soil tests and that it is unlawful for them to apply more poultry litter to a specified property than state law allows.

"If an individual is a commercial farmer, then he or she must fill out reports on where the litter came from, soil analysis updates, how much acreage was used, how much litter was used, etc.," Mr Allen explains. "If an individual is caught dumping illegally, then that person faces state-enforced fines and the possibility of losing their licence."

Mr Allen emphasises that state laws are strict and that poultry farmers expend considerable time and money complying with them. "Many individuals, particularly in the media, do not realise how much a farmer goes through in order to do business in this state," he laments.

Oklahoma filed suit against Tyson Foods in 2005, charging that it polluted lands, water and property along the Illinois River, according to Public Nuisance Wire. Last week, however, a federal court judge dealt a devastating blow to the state attorney general by dismissing all claims to monetary damages against the Arkansas-based company.

The case is set for trial on 21 September.

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