Illustration of a complete mix anaerobic digester
Perdue Farms will supply feedstock to a planned anaerobic digester system. (Illustration: EPA)

SALISBURY, Md. – Perdue Farms will supply poultry waste to run an anaerobic digester system as part of a project to develop biogas while reducing levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in Maryland.

The Clean Bay Project features a large complete mix, co-digestion anaerobic digester system to be installed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Hampton, New Hampshire-based AgEnergy USA will build the digester; Perdue will supply all of the feedstock including poultry waste and other organic materials. The facility is expected to process up to 200,000 tons of poultry waste per year.

“Environmentally, this project will provide an alternative to land application for a significant amount of poultry litter, eliminating the risk of any portion of the nitrogen or phosphorous in this litter from finding its way into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, said Steve Schwalb, vice president of Environmental Sustainability. “This project can play an important role in Maryland agriculture as the new Phosphorus Management Tool regulation is implemented.”

“We are excited about the technology and expertise that AgEnergy brings to this project and its potential to efficiently produce renewable energy from poultry litter and other organic materials,” he added.

Environmental stewardship is part of the company's corporate responsibility mission. Perdue Farms has partnered with other companies on biodiesel, ethanol, solar and biomass projects. Perdue currently operates two biomass boiler operations — using wood, peanut hulls and cotton gin waste — in North Carolina.

The company operates Perdue-AgriRecycle on the Delmarva Peninsula. The plant converts poultry litter to a pasteurized, pelletized organic fertilizer.  The plant is the industry’s first large-scale poultry litter recycling plant. Through Perdue-AgriRecycle, Perdue Farms the largest buyer of poultry litter in Maryland.

Past projects include the Perdue Clean Waters Environmental Initiative from 2008 to 2012. The initiative was a partnership between Perdue and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The partnership helped Perdue contract growers enhance compliance with environmental regulations through training, assistance and environmental assessments.