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Agricultural News


Environmental Activists Lose Court Case Against Maryland Farm Couple- National Chicken Council Pleased

Fri, 21 Dec 2012 10:15:57 CST

Environmental Activists Lose Court Case Against Maryland Farm Couple- National Chicken Council Pleased The U.S. District Court of Maryland on Thursday morning found in favor of Perdue Farms' grower Hudson Farms in a case filed against them by Waterkeeper Alliance Inc. The Hudson family are fourth generation family farmers who were sued by this New York-based activist organization, alleging their chicken farm violated the Clean Water Act.


A coalition that was formed to support the Hudson family, SaveFarmFamilies.org, applauds the judge’s decision, and calls on Judge Nickerson to award legal costs to the Hudsons and to Perdue Farms, which was also named in the suit. In addition, the Assateague Coastal Trust, Waterkeeper Alliance, and the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic should publicly apologize to the Hudsons and to the Maryland taxpayers who unwillingly funded this wasteful lawsuit.

The full ruling can be viewed by clicking here.

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown released the following statement in response to today's ruling:

"Governor O'Malley said it best - that this unfair attack on a family farm represented an 'ongoing injustice.' The National Chicken Council and many other farm, agriculture, meat and poultry groups both inside and outside of Delmarva have stood solidly together in support of the Hudson's during this case - a case that was based on frivolous assumptions rather than facts from the beginning.

"We feel like this was a lawsuit against all of us, and we are pleased that Judge Nickerson ruled that the Waterkeeper Alliance had not met the standard of preponderance of evidence in its argument.

"Today's ruling is a win for Delmarva's family farmers and against radical environmental activists who disregard the facts, sue first and ask questions later."

The lawsuit, filed in March 2010 by the Waterkeeper's Alliance, accused in a civil suit that Berlin, Maryland, farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson and Perdue Farms, for whom the Hudsons are contract growers, violated the Clean Water Act. The violation was based on a pile of material on the property that was erroneously assumed to be chicken manure, but was instead municipal sewage sludge from Ocean City, Maryland, that was used to fertilize crops. The Maryland Department of the Environment inspected the farm, confirmed the pile was biosolids, asked the Hudsons to move the pile, and the Hudsons complied.

Lawyers for the Waterkeeper's Alliance then argued manure leaving the poultry houses from ventilation fans and foot traffic polluted a ditch along the farm which leads to the Pocomoke River - a claim that Judge Nickerson denied today.

To learn more about this lawsuit and the defense made on behalf of the Hudson's- click here.


   


 

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