Danny Bramble to Meet with CBG

On January 30, 2015, in County Issues, by An American

Danny Bramble, President and CEO of David A. Bramble, Inc., will discuss his company and the outlook for the heavy construction industry in Kent County at the February 5 meeting of the Conservative Breakfast Group (CBG).

The company’s founder, David A. Bramble, returned from World War II and started what has become David A Bramble, Inc. Since then, the company has grown until today it operates 150 pieces of major construction equipment, 17 trucks and three hot mix asphalt plants. It is one of the largest employers in the upper Eastern Shore area.

The CBG meets for breakfast every Thursday at 7:30AM at the Holiday Inn Express in Chestertown. Our meetings start promptly at 7:30AM, so you may want to come at 7:15AM to get your breakfast before the meeting. Our website is www.kentcbg.org.


Nutrient Trading: Markets or Mayhem

On January 23, 2015, in Environment, Politics, by An American

David Foster will discuss using Nutrient Trading Markets to clean up the Chesapeake Bay with The Community Breakfast Group (CBG) at their January 29 meeting. David is an Environmental Economist with a PhD in Environmental Planning and Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has extensive experience in environmental planning for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and has served as Riverkeeper for the Chester River Association.

The Clean Water Act passed in 1972, but there has been little progress since then in actually cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding rivers. The cost of such cleanup, estimated at $14 to $30 billion for Maryland alone, is an important reason that progress in cleaning up the Bay has been slow. There has been little agreement as to who will actually have to put up the money.

The latest approach to solving the problem has been the arbitrary establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for each state by the EPA, and then leaving it up to each state to decide who is to pay. While sticking each state with the enforcement of the quotas shields the Federal Government from much of the political blowback from enforcement of the quotas, such a quota system does not lend itself to cost-effective approaches to pollution control. Planting trees or switchgrass can remove nitrogen for less than $5 per pound while retrofitting urban stormwater controls can cost $500 per pound or more. However, using the political process to establish quotas often leads to ineffective resource allocation and outright corruption.

Establishing a nutrient trading market is a better way to help insure that pollution control is done fairly and at the lowest possible cost. In such a market, the rights to pollute could be traded or sold. Once such a market was established, the government would have a better mechanism for controlling the total amount of pollution and assuring that cost of reducing this pollution was minimized.

The CBG meets for breakfast every Thursday at 7:30AM at the Holiday Inn Express in Chestertown. Our meetings start promptly at 7:30AM, so you may want to come at 7:15AM to get your breakfast before the meeting. Our website is www.kentcbg.org.



The answer is neither. The poultry farmer came before either. Despite the fact that poultry farming is one of the largest industries in Kent County, few of us know much about it. Jenny Rhodes, Extension Educator with the University of Maryland Extension, will discuss the poultry industry with the Community Breakfast Group (CBG) at their January 8 meeting. Join us, as there have been many interesting developments in the industry that will affect us here in Kent County next year.

Just like growing other agricultural products, growing chickens is becoming highly technical and capital intensive. Did you know that broiler chickens, like roses or sweet corn, are hybrids that are so hungry that they will eat until they explode if there is unlimited food available? Or that extreme hygienic measures must be taken to protect a flock against bird flu?

Sadly, the poultry industry has recently come under attack from poorly informed politicians. Waste from chicken houses can adversely affect water quality if not adequately treated. This fact has led to ill-advised attacks on the industry by politicians. For example, on December 20, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge William M. Nickerson declared in a 50-page opinion that a New York-based environmental group had not established in a two-week trial in October that waste from chicken houses owned by Berlin farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson was fouling a drainage ditch that ultimately flows to the Pocomoke River.

Even worse are the attacks by animal rights groups. Starting January 1 of this year, California requires farmers to keep their hens in cages having enough space to move around and stretch their wings. Exactly how politicians know how much room a chicken needs to be happy has not been explained, but the added cost of providing the larger cages and HVAC systems will probably drive the poultry industry out of California. As always, the added costs will ultimately be borne disproportionally by the poor through higher egg prices.

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