Poultry Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) - Executive Order 01-2017
March 3, 2017
For Immediate Release
County Executive Alan McCarthy is pleased to announce that he has signed Executive Order 01-2017, which requires that the Cecil Soil Conservation District consult with the Director of Planning & Zoning to obtain comments regarding the implementation of best management practices during review of applications for Confined Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFO”). A CAFO application includes a proposal to discharge manure, litter, or process wastewater as part of the overall concentrated animal feeding operation. A CAFO facility must be designed, constructed, operated, or maintained, such that a discharge to local surface waters will occur in strict compliance with State environmental laws and regulations.
County Executive McCarthy is respectful of the historical and current importance of agriculture in Cecil County, and the County’s right to farm ordinance, which encourages the business of agriculture without interference from other land uses. Some citizens have raised concerns with respect to the public health and environmental impact of CAFOs. The County Executive believes that collaboration between the Cecil Soil Conservation District and the Department of Planning and Zoning, together with the application of rigorous regulation by the Maryland Departments of Agriculture and the Environment, will protect the public health and environment without the necessity of amending the County’s Zoning Ordinance.
As part of the State permit process, CAFO applicants must prepare a soil conservation plan as well as a nutrient management plan that are reviewed and approved by the Cecil Soil Conservation District. Executive Order 01-2017 now further requires that the Cecil Soil Conservation District and the Department of Planning & Zoning engage in a collaborative review of each CAFO plan that is filed in order to assure that new poultry farms in Cecil County closely adhere to the various best management practices, including practice code standards promulgated by the U.S.D.A Natural Conservation Service as noted in the farm’s Soil Conservation Water Quality Plan required by MDE. Such best practices will include, but not be limited to, buffers, waste storage structures, composting facilities, and heavy use pads as applicable to the poultry industry.
County Executive McCarthy believes that Executive Order 01-2017 effectively balances the health, safety and welfare of Cecil County’s citizens and visitors, with the rich and historic agricultural economy in Cecil County, and does so through the utilization of existing regulatory tools and government resources.