Federal Grant Funds Fertilizer Co-op

You know your trash is someone else's treasure. And they're proving that on the farm. Farmers in our region want something farmers elsewhere consider a problem. Now there's a new program that may help both.

Jeff Deen never thought so many people could be interested in an empty building at yesterday's ribbon. Most were glad it is still empty, considering what he'll soon put here.

"For the past 15 years, I've used chicken litter as an organic fertilizer on my farm and it's worked well," Deen said.

Chicken litter? Yes, the smelly droppings left by these little creatures. In the poultry capital of north Georgia, farmers can't get rid of it fast enough and can't believe anyone would want it.

Phosphorus is among the minerals in chicken litter that makes great fertilizer. The concrete floor and covered roof of Deen's new facility on Satilla Church Road in Appling County will protect the environment from large piles that could be too much of a good thing.

Deen built the shelter through a federal grant that promotes conservation agriculture, such as his no-till planting in his fields.

US Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist 1) says the buildings solve several problems. "The farmers in north Georgia have too much and need it out of their way and south Georgia farmers need it badly, so this brings it to the right place," he said.

Deen admits it sounds strange to others. But buying manmade fertilizer when he can fill this building with the natural kind is even stranger to him.

Kingston says Jeff Deen has the first federally funded stack house in Georgia. More could be on the way in the next round of grants.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com