Bob Edson, Aviagen's vice president of operations, was traveling and not available for an interview Friday. In West Virginia, Aviagen employs 130 people and does $40 million in business annually.
In June, Edson told The Associated Press that untested and unregulated chicken litter was used in fields near his company's farms in West Virginia on at least one occasion.
"Long term, this will be a disaster for us," Edson told state legislators. If Aviagan's farming operations are not disease-free, he added, it could be a "business-ending proposition."
Edson said his company is particularly concerned about avian influenza.
The Agriculture Department's proposed "emergency rule" would restrict the use of poultry-litter fertilizers from 18,000 acres around each Aviagen farm.
"Those restrictions are so strict that they would eliminate the possibility of being able to utilize this fertilizer," Tomlinson said.
"Currently, the cost of poultry litter is 30 percent of the cost of petroleum-based fertilizers and it is completely organic. This is a terrific product, as our industry tries to leave its dependencies on petroleum-based and chemical-based products. <t40>...<t$>
"It brings profound savings for farmers in Greenbrier and Monroe counties," Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson recently told state legislators, "Poultry litter is a hostile environment for persistence of pathogens. It is typically dry, heats very quickly and generates ammonia gas.
"Deep stacking poultry litter is [a] commonly recommended way to reduce bacterial population."
Tomlinson said he and his fellow farmers routinely test for salmonella and avian influenza. "We can ensure that our farms are clean."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.