ANNAPOLIS, MD. — Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley announced on March 10 several measures the state is taking to assist the Eastern Shore poultry industry that was battered by February's heavy snowstorms.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture has been directed to prioritize new poultry operations in obtaining technical assistance to prepare Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (C.N.M.P.). Also, the M.D.A. has secured commitments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service to increase the level of technical assistance with three additional staff members to develop the C.N.M.P.s statewide.

The M.D.A. continues to identify poultry operations that sustained damage from the snowstorms, Gov. O'Malley said. The M.D.A. has compiled a list of resources for poultry producers that includes information about indemnity programs, emergency grants and loans, instructions for emergency burning permits, information on disposal of poultry and livestock mortality and information about rebuilding in more energy efficient ways in addition to cash incentives for energy projects.

As part of state-led efforts to assist poultry producers, the Maryland Department of the Environment extended to April 18 the deadline allowing temporary burning of poultry houses, other livestock shelters and manure storage structures that collapsed during the snowstorms.

Finally, the state has completed, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved, new construction guidelines for poultry houses.