Windbreak Plant Species for Odor Management around Poultry Production Facilities

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The U.S. poultry industry is the world's largest producer and second largest exporter of poultry meat. U.S. consumption of poultry meat (broilers, other chicken, and turkey) is considerably higher than beef or pork. Considering overall animal production in the U.S., the total number of chickens per farm has increased considerably. This national trend of producing more chickens on fewer farms is especially evident in the state of Maryland. From 1974 to 2002, while the number of broiler chicken farms decreased by 37 percent, the number of birds produced increased by 86 percent (National Agricultural Statistical Service). While poultry producers are increasing the efficiency of their operations Maryland has been losing farmland, in most cases to development. Maryland has lost 7.3 percent of the state's farmland during the last eight years, and in 2005 alone, the state lost 10,000 acres of farmland according to USDA's Maryland agriculture statistics office. This trend of farmland loss is at a rate almost four times that of the nation as a whole. The encroachment of houses on Maryland‟s farmland, combined with the trend toward more concentrated poultry, points to a much greater need for vegetative buffers.

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