When state budget cuts jeopardized the jobs of two state soil scientists who develop plans for land owners for the use of poultry litter as a fertilizer the industry stepped in with $43,000 to preserve their jobs.
For the past six years the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) has employed two former soil scientists, on a part-time basis, to develop plans for land owners that are designed to regulate the method, timing and rate poultry litter is used as a fertilizer. During that time, the two have written more than 850 nutrient management plans. However, due to state budget cuts, their positions were slated for elimination this summer.
The Poultry Federation
, a non-profit group that supports the poultry industry in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, has stepped forward with a $43,000 grant to ODAFF. The money will be used to fund the two positions for another year. The Federation’s agreement with ODAFF also provides for the possibility of additional funding by The Federation for up to three additional years.
“Those of us who work in the poultry industry are serious about our responsibility as environmental stewards and we value ODAFF’s efforts to make sure poultry litter is properly used,” said Marvin Childers, president of The Poultry Federation. “The state’s role in writing nutrient management plans is very important to the poultry farmers and others who use litter as an organic fertilizer on the farm land.”
“We appreciate The Poultry Federation’s willingness to help us retain these positions,” said Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture Terry Peach. “This is another example of how government and industry can work together to support responsible agricultural practices in our beautiful state.”
According to the Poultry Community Council, more than 12,000 Oklahomans are employed in the poultry industry, including farmers, plant workers, truck drivers, scientists and technicians. Poultry is the second largest agricultural commodity produced in Oklahoma, based on cash receipts.