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  • A "Fowl" Waste Farm to Fresh, Local Food

    Wednesday, December 11, 03:30 pm - 04:00 pm
    West Hall A – Area B
    Learning Lounges
    Track 1: Sustainability, Livability, Resiliency
    From 1970 to 2010, the McAnnally Enterprises egg farm processed eggs from more than a million chickens at a time and was a key employer for the small community of about 1,400 people in Berino, New Mexico. In 2010 a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent doing aerial surveillance discovered acres and acres of chicken feces from the facility. Underneath the 270-acre site the groundwater was contaminated with high nitrates from decades of roosting chickens. The facility was closed, put up for sale, and sat vacant for years. Today Jim and Jay Hill run Wholesome Valley Farms on the same piece of property. The Hills are using the high nitrate groundwater to irrigate and fertilize their crops, providing fresh, local food, seasonal and year-round jobs, and remediating the groundwater through crop uptake of the nitrate. Leveraging federal, state, and private funds the farm features greenhouses for lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers, and irrigates up to 150 acres of wheat, barley, corn and Sudan grass. A new irrigation well has been installed to draw uncontaminated water from deeper in the aquifer allowing the Hills to mix contaminated water and clean water for irrigation of the crops.
    Jennifer Muus
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