L & J Farm of Harrington, Del. was one of five farms across the United States to receive USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award during the 2024 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. The family farm’s owners, Linda and John Brown, were in Atlanta on Tuesday to receive the award, having been nominated for the honor by Delmarva Chicken Association. USPOULTRY sponsors the annual awards in recognition of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
The Browns raise 150,000 organic broiler chickens per flock for Perdue Farms, and theirs was the first commercial organic farm on Delmarva. They have opened their doors to many people over the years, including professionals, CEOs, farm suppliers, buyers, schools and more. L & J Farm makes use of an EcoDrum composter and was the first farm in Delaware to take advantage of the USDA cost share program for this equipment. Litter is primarily windrowed, with partial and complete cleanouts when necessary. They test their litter annually, and all litter removed from the farm is used for offsite cropland. Linda is an officer on the Tax Ditch Committee, part of the network of drainage ditches on Delmarva that help protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Browns also take online courses to keep up with the latest best management practices.
The Browns have implemented many measures on their farm to make it more environmentally friendly, as well as neighbor friendly. Grass buffers at fans and tree buffers at the property line help to ensure that dust and odors are contained, and a pollinator garden, heavy use pads, improved roads and stormwater drainage ponds help to protect and enhance the surrounding environment. Using solar energy, including to charge their electric car, helps to reduce their environmental impact. Last year, anterooms were added to two houses in order to improve biosecurity as well.
L & J Farm received Delmarva Chicken Association’s inaugural George ‘Bud’ Malone Environmental Award in 2022. Afterwards, DCA worked to nominate their farm for USPOULTRY’s highest environmental recognition, and USPOULTRY named the farm a semifinalist, earning them an all-expense trip paid to IPPE. USPOULTRY representatives toured the farm last fall during the judging process.
“John and Linda are fully dedicated to operating their farm with the highest standards of sustainability, and we at DCA are incredibly proud of what they have accomplished in decades of growing chickens,” said Holly Porter, DCA’s executive director, who attended the Atlanta trade show and congratulated the Browns at their award ceremony.