Proliferation of Chicken Farms Presents Prime Opportunity for Application of Sustainable Technologies

Proliferation of Chicken Farms Presents Prime Opportunity for Application of Sustainable Technologies

With residential areas being increasingly affected by pollution from chicken farm operations, benefits of supporting a Triple Bottom Line through Team Gemini technologies become more evident.

The poultry industry in North Carolina and elsewhere serves as a useful case study for solving economic, environmental, and social issues that are invariably connected with sustainability. In the case of North Carolina, we’re talking about a sizeable $34 billion industry that supports the state’s economy, and whose growth can support the livelihood of many of its communities. However, that success will depend in large part on the basis on which this growth is propelled. From water supply to air quality, many residents are becoming familiar with the ways in which outdated farming practices negatively impact quality of life—and, down the line, may also hurt profitability.

Large-scale chicken farms are spreading across the state. Government regulations have allowed these farms to get much closer to where people live. That’s not just a nuisance. Neighbors say it’s also a potential health hazard.

Craig Watts is an industrial chicken farmer in Fairmont, N.C. He contracts with Perdue and has raised birds for more than 20 years. Still, he says sometimes it’s a struggle to meet the demands of the industry.

His birds produce 700 tons of poultry waste each year, and he’s responsible for it. It’s spread in nearby fields and sold to farmers for fertilizer. Watts’ operation is one of thousands of confined animal feeding operations in the state. These large-scale chicken farms are popping up near residential areas in western North Carolina, especially in Surry County.

Will Scott with the Yadkin Riverkeeper says chicken farms aren’t under the same scrutiny as other industries. These dry-litter poultry operations are exempt from state odor ordinances, and federal regulators don’t monitor their air emissions.

Mary [Marshall, a resident of Surry County] is lobbying state lawmakers and says she wants future chicken farms away from residential areas, and something to control the odor and pollution, which she says will get worse in the hot North Carolina summers.

If unchecked, the problem will become worse over time. Deteriorating air and water quality can not only drive out residents from communities or impact their health, but environmental issues can also harm profitability of industries themselves: causing potential disease outbreaks in animal populations; limiting or, at best, increasing prices of feedstock supplies necessary in maintaining operations; making farms vulnerable to future litigation, fines, and other penalties from regulations; and maintaining an unnecessary dependence on fuel resources that can be readily created through a decentralized, all-around-beneficial application of sustainable technologies.

Team Gemini’s trifecta of Combined Heat and Power, Anaerobic Digestion, and Water Treatment create an all-encompassing solution to these issues—a suitable combination of these technologies creates renewable electricity and thermal energy; eliminates air, water and ground pollution; and protects farming operations and their communities from harmful consequences of future growth.

Supporting and developing a closed-loop, 100%-sustainable infrastructure is among Team Gemini’s primary endeavors. Many technologies ultimately contribute to this goal, including the collection of waste as a source for energy production, in addition to valuable commodities like biofuels, high- and persistent-quality compost and fertilizer, and more. Additionally, Team Gemini closely examines and implements methods of minimizing or even eliminating any pollution, including protecting and treating valuable water resources and implementing sustainable agriculture.

In an effort to make more communities sustainable, Team Gemini works closely with commodity-intensive industries, municipalities, and other stakeholders to implement viable technology configurations that result in economic and other benefits. A closed-loop system allows businesses to minimize their operating costs and maximize their potential revenue streams, depending on which technologies they choose.

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