poultry, water, and the local economy

Brent Finnegan -- August 1st, 2007

WSVA is reporting that the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors is coming up with a plan in the event the poultry industry leaves the Valley. Supervisor Kyger and Administrator Paxton say “the board’s emphasis should be on sustaining an appropriate level of service to the community if a large sector were to be removed.”

Not a bad idea, considering the market trends. Right now, grain has to be imported from the Midwest, the industry is booming in the deep southern states (where unemployment rates are higher), and the largest “unskilled” labor force for poultry plants in this area is undocumented immigrants. The writing has been on the wall for at least a decade.

Add to that the recently established link between poultry manure and fish kills in the local waterways, and things don’t look good. Just today Jeff Kelble posted on the Riverkeeper blog:

This winter, Secretary of Natural Resources Preston L. Bryant will be making a difficult choice; follow Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware’s lead by improving regulations governing poultry litter use on agricultural fields in order to make them more protective of the environment (read Shenandoah River) OR follow the advice of the Virginia Farm Bureau and Agribusiness Council who would argue that no additional regulation is needed or that incentive based plans should be instituted respectively.

That post was accompanied by the official Poultry Litter Regulation Interim Report, released yesterday. Admittedly, the contents of that report are a little over my head. Perhaps Bubby can be persuaded to write a new post about that, and shed some light on it.

But a poultry industry pull-out would undoubtedly have a huge effect on the Valley’s economy. Hobey Bauhan, President of Virginia Poultry Federation has said,

For every job in the processing industry, 7.2 jobs are created outside of the industry. So there certainly is a spill over effect. We employ some 7000 people in the Valley and also support the livelihoods of more than 900 family farms and all of these businesses need goods and services to operate and that supports a lot of local businesses. So it is a very significant economic entity here in the Valley.

If what Bauhan says is true, and if the industry does pull out of the area, I would expect the unemployment rate to rise drastically, and some secondary businesses to shut down. I would be interested to see what sort of plan the County BoS comes up with.

61 Responses to “poultry, water, and the local economy”

  1. JGFitzgerald says:

    That failure-to-appear thing sounds pretty cool. Does that work on a blog?

    Hey, checkserviceplus, have you ever seen the “Wizard of Oz”? Dave’s a good person. He’s just a bad blogger.

  2. checkserviceplus says:

    I’ve seen behind the emerald curtians.

  3. What’s a checkserviceplus? A business or a joke?

  4. checkserviceplus says:

    We are a business. No joke

  5. Anonymous says:

    He’s pulling our leg(s), Christa…if this guy was “real” he’d tell us his name and his business…of course, his I.P. address is 68.111.2.4.

    What’s even more interesting is why is Briggman so important that this guy has a “company record” on him?

  6. What type of business? And why would anyone NEED a company record on Dave?
    What does the IP tell you he is? Sorry, I have no clue.

  7. zen says:

    good lord. Brent, I’m so sorry to see all this unfold here.
    Good luck cleaning it up.

  8. reaganite says:

    I like poultry (especially well done), water (especially mixed with bourbon) and I like the local economy. Heck, I like Dave, David and Joe. I think I love Christa. But, can the back and forth sniping quit for a while? I expect I’ll enjoy it again tomorrow, but maybe it could end for just one night . . .

  9. Karl Magenhofer says:

    I couldn’t be more disappointed that my radio station is mentioned in the original post in this thread.
    Maybe Chris Graham should do a follow up story “When bad things happen to good blogs.”

  10. finnegan says:

    I agree. This is getting out of hand.

    Please settle this like civil adults. Email each other.

    Comments closed.

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