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Feds start surprise poultry farm inspections

by 5m Editor
23 March 2007, at 9:59am

DELAWARE - Surprise federal inspections are ruffling feathers on Delaware's poultry farms.

Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse

Using its authority over manure management at large animal feeding operations, Environmental Protection Agency inspectors arrived unannounced at two large poultry growing sites in Sussex County last week.

"One said he was an environmental scientist, the other said he was an enforcement officer. Both of them had badges," recalled Mack W. McCary, whose 250,000-bird farm near Roxana was inspected. "It would be a mild statement to say that people are upset with them."

Federal officials have not shared any findings from the visits.

Prompted by calls for apologies and for the federal inspectors to coordinate with state officials, Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse said agriculture officials were discussing possible responses Thursday.

"I'm very disappointed. We have a nutrient management program in Delaware that should be held up as a national model," Scuse said. "We believe our program does a lot more to protect the environment than the federal program."

Scuse said that similar inspections have occurred in Maryland, and that EPA officials appear to be stepping up such audits across the country.

Jon M. Capacasa, water protection division director in the EPA's Philadelphia regional office, said that federal officials are actively discussing notification and inspection rules with Delaware agencies. But he added that the inspections are likely to continue.

Source: Delawareonline

5m Editor