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Native Warm Season Grasses to Mitigate Poultry Air Emissions

 

Native warm Season Grasses To Mitigate Poultry Air Emissions

 

Early in the 2012 calendar year, Josh Spencer and Don Riley began working to develop Native Warm Season Grass Hedgerow demonstration sites in NC. The intent of the demonstration sites is to determine whether grasses utilized in Maryland to filter particulate matter from poultry facility exhaust fans will survive in a more southern climate with equally harsh growing conditions. During the process, the objective was to identify and cooperate with a diverse group in order to best demonstrate the utility of the technology. Through assistance from local NRCS staff (Brent Bogue, Carl Kirby, Don Barker and Amanda Schaller) and through cooperation with Sanderson Farms and a generous grass seed donation from ERNST Conservation Seeds, three demonstration sites were established with Timber and Bo-Master switchgrass varieties on May 11, 2012.


The goal to achieve diversity across geographic locations, management regime, cultural influence and operation size was fully met. The three demonstration sites are all very unique and provide a different perspective on the functionality of the technology. The site in Orange County is a Certified Organic operation. Birds are allowed access outside of the facility and exhaust fan operation is dictated by the grower. A new and beginning farmer owns and operates the Greene County operation. This facility was made fully operational in 2011, which marked the first ever agricultural venture by the grower.

A new and beginning farmer owns and operates the Greene County operation. This facility was made fully operational in 2011, which marked the first ever agricultural venture by the grower. The Pitt County site is owned and operated by an Asian-American farmer who has been in agricultural production in the past, with this operation being his first poultry operation in North Carolina. Both the Greene and Pitt County sites are both traditional poultry operations. Overall, operational procedures for these poultry facilities are requirements set forth by Sanderson Farms, and day-to-day operations are carried out by the owners.

NRCS state office and field office staff will continue working with the growers and cooperators to monitor the growth and survival of the plants. As the hedgerows become fully established, it is our hope that we will be able to further develop the effectiveness of the technology through assessment of potential reductions of particulate matter leaving the farm as a result of the hedgerows.