Poultry farmer Connie Carmean of Laurel has received the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award in recognition of her efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff.
Carmean, who grows for Mountaire Farms, has raised poultry since building the first two houses with her late husband in 1986. With four houses today, the farm has a capacity of 99,400 birds per flock. As part of her efforts to reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality, Carmean’s farm has a large manure storage structure and channel composter, built in the early 2000s, as well as heavy use pads and a large retention pond to capture and treat runoff. She is certified as a private nutrient handler by the Delaware Nutrient Management Program.
“[Carmean] is one of our leaders in protecting and preserving Delaware’s environment,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “We are seeing signs that our farmers’ hard work is contributing to progress in improving our water quality, and are grateful for their leadership.”
The three runners-up for the award are all from Sussex County.
Richard McGinnis of Dagsboro, a grower for Amick Farms LLC, has a capacity of 249,000 birds. He has built three manure structures and put heavy use pads at the poultry houses, planted a windbreak of evergreen trees and installed a retention pond to treat runoff.
Larry and Mary Ann McAllister of Laurel, growers for Allen Harim Foods, have a capacity of 67,000 birds. They have built a manure structure and enlarged heavy use pads, and their poultry house area borders tilled cropland that serves as a vegetative buffer to prevent runoff.
John and Mary Reed of Bridgeville, growers for Perdue Farms, have a capacity of 67,000 birds. They have heavy use pads, a manure shed, composter and retention pond, and collect stray feathers with a lawnmower equipped with a bagger.
The awards were presented Jan. 13 during Delaware Ag Week, held at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. Carmean will receive $1,000, a plaque and a sign for their farm. The runners-up will receive $500, plaques and signs.
The awards are supported by Allen Harim Foods, Amick Farms, Mountaire Farms and Perdue Farms.