America’s broiler chicken companies and the 30,000 farm families that grow broiler chickens are committed to the responsible production of food that is safe, affordable and abundant for consumers in the United States and around the world. The industry is more diligent and innovative than ever in pursuing environmental improvements.
Management of manure, litter and poultry by-products is a complex environmental issue. Manure and livestock by-products can produce substantial benefits and those environmental results depend upon choices that the producer makes.
The poultry industry faces growing scrutiny of its environmental stewardship through federal and state environmental agencies as well as public interest groups. The potential impact of an individual operation on the environment varies with animal concentration, weather, terrain, soils and numerous other conditions.
As the world’s population expands, so does the need for readily available protein especially chicken, meat or eggs. “Litter” produced by commercial poultry units contains undigested materials as well as bedding material. There are federal, state and regional regulations that control the quantity of poultry litter permitted on land which limits the potential environmental impacts. A major factor in reducing pollution is to keep nutrients in the animal’s body rather than excreting them into the environment.
Through nutritional research and diet modification, poultry nutritionists work to balance the bird’s diet to accurately meet the needs of the bird while avoiding overfeeding of nutrients. Meeting the nutritional needs of the birds helps with absorption of nutrients and minimizes the amount of nutrients that are excreted from the bird. Birds that are fed a properly balanced diet excrete less nitrogen and phosphorus – the main two nutrients linked to environmental pollution issues.