Price of "cheap chicken" creeps up
\Public foots bill for shipping poultry litter in Missouri

By Author

OKLAHOMA CITY - (May 27, 2005)--The House voted Thursday to extend tax credits that make it cheaper to transport poultry litter away from watersheds and reduce pollution.

House Bill 1014, by State Rep. John Auffet, would maintain a tax credit for the purchase and transportation of poultry litter until 2008. The credit was set to expire at the end of 2005.

"I am very pleased that our Legislature came together to do something positive for the poultry industry that is so vital to our state," said Auffet, D-Stilwell. "At the same time we are cleaning up our water supply in rural counties."

In eastern Oklahoma, the concentration of chicken litter near poultry operations has contributed to phosphorus pollution in water due to runoff.

The tax credit provides buyers with $5 per ton of poultry litter purchased and transported with a maximum total credit of $375,000 per year.

Under the program, only litter purchased from an Oklahoma-based poultry operation located within "an environmentally sensitive and nutrient-limited watershed area" would qualify for the credit.

Officials have used tax credits to make it economically feasible to purchase chicken litter for use as fertilizer in parts of the state that do not have water pollution problems.

There are roughly 3,000 poultry houses in Oklahoma, each producing an average of 125 tons of poultry waste per year, or a collective statewide total of 375,000 tons annually.

Research indicates 1,845 poultry houses are located in nutrient-limited watersheds generating an estimated 231,000 tons of litter.


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