About the DLLCFarmers across the Delmarva Peninsula are dedicated to keeping the health of the Chesapeake Bay intact. They have joined forces with a group of agricultural stakeholders to ensure that their poultry waste products do not pollute the bay. Farmers, conservationists, and academics have come together to form the Delmarva Land & Litter Challenge (DLLC), a platform where collaborating partners work together to develop strategies to abate poultry related nutrient pollution on the Delmarva Peninsula. DLLC members believe that significant progress can be achieved in meeting the nutrient reduction goals that have been established for the agricultural sector in the three Delmarva states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Working together, we are committed to supporting pathways for land management that will improve the productivity of agriculture lands, enhancing the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, and strengthening the economy that preserves and protects the region’s rural and cultural heritage.
In order to ensure their commitment to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, DLLC members commit to the following goals by 2025:
- Delmarva farming and poultry complex becomes a national model as an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable regional agricultural system;
- Delmarva agriculture is regionally neutral in importing and exporting nutrients, and wherever possible, nutrients are recycled locally to support sustainable agricultural operations;
- Nutrients are utilized in farming operations without negative environmental impacts on land and in adjacent waters; and,
- Growers are rewarded for producing high value food, feed, fiber, clean energy, and ecosystem services.
The DLLC is tackling these goals by focusing their efforts on land application of animal manure and litter, and alternative uses and markets for manure and poultry litter. Our initial work focuses on formatting and empowering multi-stakeholder action groups; addressing nutrient pollution control challenges across multiple jurisdictions; establishing financial reward mechanisms for stewardship of ecosystem services; energizing and coordinating research; and transforming and modernizing information networks. One of the DLLC’s first products is a summary of Model Poultry Litter Transportation Program Attributes. These recommendations are the result of a prolonged and thoughtful dialogue involving grain and poultry producers, environmental advocates and state government agency representatives; the DLLC Steering Committee reached consensus that adjustments need to be made to existing manure/litter transport programs in order to better facilitate the relocation of poultry litter without causing environmental degradation.
The DLLC is currently working on a nutrient budget for Delmarva. The work is expected to identify whether counties in our region have a general surplus or deficit of nitrogen and phosphorus. This work will also provide insight on where excess poultry litter exists relative to crop needs and guide the application of poultry litter as a fertilizer. Once complete, it will be shared widely with state and local officials to better target land and litter management practices across the Delmarva.