Recent press stories featuring Sustainable Chesapeake’s work:

2/13/17 The ribbon cutting ceremony for the BHSL poultry litter-to-energy project at the Murphy Farm was featured in the news recently, including a local TV news story, an article in the local newspaper, as well as an article in a major Irish newspaper.

We especially love this photo of J.B., Bob, and Brad Murphy featured in the Irish Examiner.  When we were first introduced to the Murphy’s by Jim Newcomb (former Director for the Dorchester County Soil and Water Conservation District), he said these guys have what it takes to see a manure-to-energy project through.  His recommendation was right on. It has been a pleasure to work with the Murphy’s and BHSL to see this project come to fruition.



2/13/17 Maryland Department of Agriculture Press Release: Governor Larry Hogan Tours New Animal Waste Technology Project in Dorchester County .  Maryland’s Governor Hogan presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony at Bob Murphy’s Double Trouble Farm where a BHSL fluidized bed poultry litter-to-energy technology converts the farm’s excess poultry litter into heat for the poultry houses, electricity for the grid, and concentrated fertilizer. Sustainable Chesapeake and the Farm Manure-to-Energy Initiative team worked with the Murphy’s and BHSL to develop this project and is also working with Virginia Tech to develop markets for the concentrated fertilizer product from these types of technologies.

2/9/17 in the Bay Journal: Irish firm tackles burning issue of Maryland’s poultry waste. Rona Kobel talks about a project that Sustainable Chesapeake and the Farm Manure-to-Energy Initiative developed in partnership with Bob and his sons J.B. and Brad Murphy and Biomass Heating Solutions Limited.  This project has been in development since the winter of 2013, so we are thrilled to see a poultry litter-to-energy system finally up and running on Bob’s farm.  The Murphy’s have been fantastic partners and BHSL has worked hard to bring this project to fruition.

1/24/17 A Farm Manure-to-Energy initiated project demonstrating BHSL fluidized bed poultry litter-to-energy technology installed on the Murphy Farm is featured on Maryland Public Television.  Start at 2 minutes at 25 seconds if you want to get right to the farm story.

USDA Awards $4.575 million to Sustainable Chesapeake to Support Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning on Small Dairy Farms in Maryland and Virginia.

1/15/2017 Lancaster Farming: NRCS Funding Targets Small Dairies in Maryland, Virginia

1/5/16 Carroll County Times: Regional Conservation Partnership Program will provide $3.5 million in funding to Maryland dairies.


Today, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Sustainable Chesapeake’s proposal to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will receive $4.575 million in funding.  Delivered through the Maryland and Virginia Natural Resource Conservation Service offices, these funds will help small dairy producers develop and implement whole-farm nutrient management plans.

Nutrient management planning is a cornerstone of good farm management.  Designed by agronomy and crop fertility experts, nutrient management plans promote robust crop production.  They also protect water quality because farmers that use them minimize over-application of manure and fertilizer nutrients.  When more nutrients are applied than crops can use, that excess can be transported by rainwater to streams and rivers where it fuels algal growth, resulting in poor water quality and degraded habitat.

In addition to working closely with Maryland and Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to develop the project proposal, the project was made possible because of support provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland, both of which offered matching funds through their agricultural cost share programs.

In addition, the following agricultural and conservation partners throughout the project region also supported the project and were critical to securing this funding for Chesapeake Bay dairy farmers:  the Maryland Dairy Industry Association, the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association, the Maryland Farm Bureau, Maryland and Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Shenandoah Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, the Catoctin & Frederick Soil Conservation District, the Carroll County Soil Conservation District, the Washington County Soil Conservation District,  Virginia Tech, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.


Statewide Collaborative Group Seeks Feedback on How to Expand Voluntary Participation in Virginia’s Nutrient Management Planning Program


All Virginia farmers and ag industry professionals are invited to contribute to a periodic assessment of Virginia’s nutrient management planning, now through mid-February. A collaborative team of 18 agricultural and conservation organizations and state agencies aim to strengthen nutrient management planning efforts on farms throughout Virginia. Members of the Virginia Nutrient Management Leadership Team want to learn about challenges and opportunities relating to nutrient management plan development and implementation, and hopes to expand farmer participation.

Virginia farmers use and implement nutrient management plans to improve yields and reduce input costs. But there are barriers to participation in nutrient management planning, and the Team wants to find ways to make nutrient management planning more useful to farmers without additional regulations.

Nutrient management plans recommend fertilizer or manure application rates designed to achieve crop production yield goals while at the same time minimizing fertilizer inputs and costs.   According to Kristen Evans, with Sustainable Chesapeake,

“Nutrient management plans help farmers maximize their return on fertilizer investments – and in doing so, they also protect water quality, as fertilizer applied in excess of crop requirements can be lost to air and water resources.  Because nutrient management plans support agricultural production, farm profits, and water quality, they are a high priority conservation practice.”

Darryl Glover is with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the Commonwealth’s nutrient management planning program. He stated that:

“DCR hopes the results of the assessments will provide information that will help us find ways to encourage more farmers to obtain nutrient management plans.” 

Wilmer Stoneman with the Virginia Farm Bureau, also noted that:

 “it is important to do a periodic check-up of Virginia’s nutrient management program.”

Farmers and ag industry professionals can share their experience, ideas and suggestions by completing the assessment on paper or online, now through mid-February.  They are encouraged to share the assessment with their colleagues and constituencies, to help reach as many people in Virginia’s agricultural community as possible.

Results of the assessment will be released in late Spring 2017.

Virginia Nutrient Management Team Members Include:

  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Headwaters LLC
  • James River Association
  • James Riverkeeper
  • Sustainable Chesapeake
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Agribusiness Council
  • Virginia Association of Conservation Districts
  • Virginia Biosolids Council
  • Virginia Cattlemen’s Association
  • Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service
  • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Virginia Farm Bureau
  • Virginia Grain Producers Association
  • Virginia Poultry Federation
  • Virginia Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Virginia State Dairymen’s Association
  • Virginia Tech

The Virginia Environmental Endowment is providing funding for this important effort through a grant to Sustainable Chesapeake.

For more information:  Contact Kristen Hughes Evans, Executive Director, Sustainable Chesapeake at or 415-730-7503.