Imagine growing nursery and floriculture crops in biodegradable pots made from chicken feathers.
The Maryland Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA) recently donated $68,000 to the Horticulture Research Institute’s (HRI) Emerging Issues and Technology Projects Fund in support of that vision. HRI, the research arm of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), is currently in the midst of a project involving the creation of biodegradable nursery containers.
The U.S. poultry industry generates more than 5 billion pounds of feather waste each year, according to an ANLA press release. Last year, HRI signed onto the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services, aimed at exploring the use of animal by-products for the production of biodegradable nursery containers.
The agreement addresses the issues of recycling pots after the plants have been put in the ground, reducing landfill needs for the feathers and final products.
Alan Jones, ANLA Maryland senator of Manor View Farm Inc., Monkton, Md., and Vanessa Finney, executive director of MNLA, announced the donation during HRI’s summer reception in D.C.
The donation will be used to facilitate research efforts for the CRADA project taking place in Beltsville, Md., where there is an abundant resource of chicken feathers coming from Maryland’s eastern shore chicken production facilities.
For more information about HRI grant programs or to make a donation, contact Teresa Jodon at (202) 789-2900 or fax (202) 789-1893.