Poultry New Construction in DE. G. Cartanza photo
Updated: March 3, 2022
By Jennifer Rhodes

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The construction process of new poultry houses can be lengthy and tedious. This fact sheet is a tool to help potential poultry growers complete all the requirements needed to construct poultry houses in Maryland. Please read this packet carefully.

There are two sections included in this fact sheet. The first section is the Contact Checklist which contains a list of offices/agencies/businesses a potential poultry grower will need to contact to receive all the information needed to complete the construction process. This list provides a snapshot of all the contacts, and it is not intended to be followed sequentially as producers will need to be talking with various contacts simultaneously. In some cases, several phone calls or visits with one agency/office will need to occur to obtain the necessary permits and plans.

The Contact Description section contains a detailed description of each office/ agency/business provided in section A. This section also provides a brief description of what each contact can provide to meet the requirements of the construction process. This may be especially helpful in the beginning stages of the process, so the producer knows what items to ask for during the initial contact. In addition, phone numbers, emails, and web links are also included to help with this lengthy process. It is important to remain in constant contact with all agencies regarding the status of your application as each agency has its own time table for completion. Maintain a log of contacts with the name of the person contacted, phone number, date, and a description of the conversation. Additionally, in order to avoid unexpected expenses, it is important to ask about permit and review fees that may be required by some county or state offices.

A. Contact Checklist

  •  Housing Sales representative
  •  University of Maryland Extension (UME)
  •  County Soil Conservation District Office and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  •  County Planning and Zoning Office
  •  Contact Lending Institution – Loan Officer
  •  Maryland Department of Environment (MDE)
  •  Other County Permits  Site design and site preparation estimates
  •  Construction of poultry houses and equipment estimates
  •  Insurance Coverage
  •  Recordkeeping

B. Contact Description

I. Housing Sales Representatives

Contact each poultry company and set up a time to meet and interview each company.

  • Allen Harim Farms, LLC 1-800-777-8966 Seaford, DE
  • Amick Farms, Inc. 1-800-926-4257 Hurlock, MD
  • Mountaire Farms, Inc. 1-877-887-1490 Millsboro, DE
  • Perdue Farms, Inc. 1-800-473-7383 Salisbury, MD
  • Tyson Foods, Inc. 1-800-685-2879 Temperanceville, VA

II. University of Maryland Extension (UME)

  • Provides unbiased information about the poultry industry
  • Visit Maryland Poultry Website, www.mdchick.umd.edu
  • Can write Nutrient Management Plans Broiler Production Management for Potential Growers and other publications. http://www.mdchick.umd.edu/Publicati ons/extension.cfm
  • Poultry Farm Management – Training for new & existing farmers

Contact your county University of Maryland extension office for unbiased, research based information about poultry production in Maryland. Set up an appointment with the Nutrient Management Advisor in your local extension office to inquire about writing your Nutrient Management Plan. Visit for further unbiased, research-based information:

Jennifer Rhodes, Principal Agent, Ag and Natural Resources. 410-758-0166 or email jrhodes@umd.edu                                     Jonathan Moyle, Poultry Specialist, Ag and Natural Resources.  410-742-1178 or email jmoyle@umd.edu

III. County Soil Conservation District Office and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

  • Evaluate map of the farm to determine if soils are suitable for construction of poultry houses,
  • Site plan
    • i. Model Standard Plan for Poultry House Site Development
    • ii. Approved Sediment and Erosion Plan from the county
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) will need to be completed for new operation.
  • Soil and Water Plan will need to be completed for new operation.

These two government agencies are located in the same office. They provide technical expertise to help with the following: identifying soil types, appropriate location of buildings, provide the template for the Model Standard Plan for Poultry House Site Development known as a stormwater management plan approved by MDE, (writing a CNMP), and a soil and water plan. There are three NRCS consultants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that can write CNMPs. These consultants are located in the Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Wicomico County offices. This office will assist with any cost share funds (grants) for construction of manure storage structure, heavy use area pads, vegetative buffers and other best management practices (BMP). There are also private consultants available to write CNMPs.

List of Service Centers for NRCS, Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Soil Conservation District.

     Cambridge Service Center 501 Court Lane Cambridge, MD 21613-1801 (410)228-5640 (410) 228-0078 fax

     Centreville Service Center 211 E Water Street Centerville, MD 21617-1101 (410)758-1671 (410) 758-3820 fax

     Chestertown Service Center 122 Speer Road Chestertown, MD 21620-1037 (410)778-5353 (410) 778-5093 fax

     Denton Service Center 640 Legion Road Denton, MD 21629-2040 (410)479-1202 (410) 479-2069 fax

     Easton Service Center 28577 Marys Court Easton, MD 21601 (410) 822-1577 (410) 822-3162 fax

     Princess Anne Service Center 30730 Park Drive Princess Anne, MD 21853-1014 (410)651-0370 (410) 651-0598 fax

     Salisbury Service Center 2322B Goddard Parkway Salisbury, MD 21801-1126 (410)546-4777 (410)860-9819 fax

     Snow Hill Service Center 304 Commerce Street Snow Hill, MD 21863-1008 (410)632-5439 (410) 632-2732 fax

IV. County Planning and Zoning Office

  • Requirements for building permit
  • Each county may be different
  • Building setbacks
  • Inspections needed
  • May need Nutrient Management plan to receive county agricultural building permit
  • May need a performance bond or an irrevocable letter of credit for construction activity
  • Historical evaluation of site

Visit your local county planning and zoning office. Ask about building setbacks, requirements for building and electrical codes, any inspections that will be required, a copy of the Nutrient Management Plan needed for the new operation and if a historical site evaluation is required. Ask if the county requires a performance bond or an irrevocable letter of credit for the construction activity of moving soil on the farm.

Caroline County Planning and Zoning   www.carolinemd.org - 4035 7th St # 210, Denton, MD - (410) 479-8115

Dorchester Planning and Zoning   www.docogonet.com - 501 Court Ln # 107, Cambridge, MD - (410) 228-3234

Kent County Planning and Zoning   www.kentcounty.com - 400 High Street, Chestertown, MD - (410) 778-7475

Queen Anne’s County Planning and Zoning   http://www.qac.org, 160 Coursevall Drive, Centreville, MD 21617 - (410)758-1255

Somerset Planning and Zoning County Office Complex   www.msa.md.gov/, 11916 Somerset Ave. Suite 211, Princess Anne, MD 21853 - (410) 651-1424

Talbot County Planning and Zoning  http://talbgov.org, 215 Bay St # 2, Easton, MD - (410) 770-8030

Wicomico Planning and Zoning  www.wicomicocounty.org, North Division St and Route 50, Salisbury, MD 21803 - (410) 548-4860

Worcester Planning and Zoning  www.co.worcester.md.us, 1 W Market St #1309 Snow Hill, MD 21863-1083 - (410) 632-1972

V. Lending Institutions and Grants

  • Farm Credit
  • Local banks
  • Farm Service Agency (FSA)
  • Financial Resource List – Loans and Grants

Contact your Farm Credit, local bank, and/or FSA (most FSA offices are in the same building with NRCS and Soil Conservation) for financing information. Ask about the duration of the loan commitment. The loan commitment and interest rate may be good for only 90 days. Check into the possibility of getting prequalified for the loan. Visit http://mdchick.umd.edu/Grant.cfm for a Financial Resource List of many types of loans and grants.

VI. Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) Permits

  • Notice of Intent (NOI) for General Discharge Permit for Animal Feeding Operations Submission of a NOI constitutes notice to MDE that the applicant intends to be authorized by a State/National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Discharge Permit issued for the discharges from the animal feeding operation identified in the NOI. Authorization to discharge will begin upon notification to the applicant of acceptance of the NOI by MDE.
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Status Form A CNMP must be submitted to MDE. The CNMP must be developed in accordance with NRCS technical standards. If a CNMP is not complete at the time your NOI is submitted, complete and submit the CNMP status form.
  • Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) Registration This is required if your business is a corporation. The business or entity’s information provided in the NOI must match the information in the SDAT register.

Once MDE receives the NOI and CNMP, MDE will perform a technical review of the documents including a site visit. The NOI and CNMP will be placed in a local library for public notification for 30 days. Once this is complete, the Animal Feeding Operation will be registered and the permit coverage will begin. This entire process may take up to 180 days.

  • General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity (http://www.mde.maryland.gov/progra ms/Permits/WaterManagementPermits /WaterDischargePermitApplications/Pa ges/Permits/watermanagementpermits /water_applications/gp_construction.as px) Projects that disturb one or more acres of earth must apply for either a General or Individual Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity. Projects will be posted in MDE’s database which starts a minimum 45-day public participation period for sites with three acres or more of disturbed area or a 30-day period for sites with one to less than three acres of disturbed area. During this time, citizens may ask to review the available erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans.
  • MDE Water Appropriation Permit This permit is required for any activity that withdraws water from the State’s surface and or underground waters. Agriculture that uses more than an annual average of 10,000 gallons/day based on an annual average must apply for a permit from MDE’s Water Supply Program. (http://www.mde.maryland.gov/progra ms/permits/documents/2008permitguid e/wma/3.15.pdf). When mailing all permit information, it is important to always make copies and mail permits with a return receipt requested to keep for your records.

The mission of MDE is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water, and land resources, while fostering smart growth, economic development, healthy and safe communities, and quality environmental education for the benefit of the environment, public health, and future generations. The three programs involved with the new construction process are the Animal Feeding Operations Program, Stormwater Management, and the Water Supply Program.

  1. Animal Feeding Operation Program: The Maryland General Discharge Permit for Animal Feeding Operations, applicable to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and Maryland Animal Feeding Operations (MAFOs) became effective December 1, 2009. MDE defines a CAFO as a medium (37,500-124,999 chickens and less than 100,000 ft2 ) or large (more than 125,000 chickens or greater than or equal to 100,000 ft2 ) animal feeding operation that discharges or “proposes to discharge” manure, litter or process wastewater from the production area to waters of the state. MDE defines a MAFO as a large animal feeding operation that does not discharge or “propose to discharge” manure, litter, or process wastewater. The regulations and General Discharge Permit are designed to control nutrients from Maryland’s largest agricultural animal operations. If you have any questions regarding this program, please call Gary Kelman at 410-537- 4423 or send an e-mail to gkelman@mde.state.md.us.
  2. Stormwater Management Program: MDE issued a tentative determination to modify the General Discharge Permit for Stormwater Discharge associated with Construction Activity in May 2010. If you have questions regarding this program, please call Karen Smith (MDE Compliance Program) at 410-537-3510 or send an email to ksmith@mde.state.md.us.
  3. Water Supply Program: In order to conserve, protect, and use water resources of the State in the best interests of the people of Maryland, it is necessary to control the appropriation or use of surface and underground waters. MDE requires a water appropriation permit if it is determined the poultry farm will use more than an average of 10,000 gallons/day. If you have any questions regarding this permit, please contact John Grace at 410- 537-3714 or send an email to jgrace@mde.state.md.us.

VII. Other County Permits

  • Electric and Plumbing
  • Environmental Health (Well)

Check with your local Environmental Health office or the Department of Health for any special county permits needed. Ask about a plumbing permit. Does a check valve need to be installed in the well? What inspections are required by the county? Check on location of well on property, does the well have setback requirements from buildings?

VIII. Estimates for the stormwater management and sediment and erosion control plan

  • Contact engineer to design plan or
  • Soil Conservation District (see Part B section III) has the template for the plan or
    • i. Go online for the following Stormwater Management information: http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/StormwaterMan agementProgram/Pages/Programs/WaterPrograms/SedimentandStormwater/swm2007.aspx
    • ii. Model Standard Plan for Poultry Houses: http://staging.mde.state.md.us/ programs/Water/StormwaterManagementProgram/Documents/ Poultry House Standard Plan March 2011 Final.pdf
    • iii. Poultry House Calculator: http://staging.mde.state.md.us/ programs/Water/StormwaterManagementProgram/Documents/ Poultry House Calculator.xls

The Model Standard Plan for Poultry House Site Development and the Calculator are to assist in the construction and/or reconstruction of poultry houses that are required to address the State's stormwater management requirements. If you have any questions regarding the Model Standard Plan for Poultry House Site Development, please do not hesitate to contact MDE's Sediment, Stormwater and Dam Safety Program at 401-537-3543.

Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has worked with MDE, along with other organizations to develop a template of a standard plan for poultry house site development. This is referred to as the stormwater management plan. Contact your local Soil Conservation District/NRCS office to ask if they have the expertise to design the plan for the operation. If they cannot design the plan, then it is recommended to contact a local engineer. They can obtain the model standard plan from the Soil Conservation District/NRCS office and can help the engineer with technical questions related to agriculture.

IX. Estimates for Site Preparation

  • Contact Excavation Company
    • i. Moving soil
    • ii. Building site pads for house
    • iii. Installing practices from the Standard Plan

Contact a local excavation company for an estimate on moving soil, building the site pads for the chicken houses and installing all practices from the model standard plan. The excavation company will need a copy of YOUR plan developed by the engineer to meet the State’s stormwater management requirements.

X. Estimates for Construction of Poultry Houses and Equipment

  • There are many companies in this region
  • Poultry company representative may provide a list

There are many construction and equipment companies in this region. When comparing estimates make sure you compare apples to apples. Don’t take short cuts; you will pay for them later. Ask other growers what equipment they recommend, or what works for them. The integrator may also have certain requirements for housing and equipment.

XI. Insurance Coverage

  • Farm – contact agents
  • Loss of Income
  • Structural Inspection

Contact local insurance companies and compare estimates. The lender may require loss of income coverage. Check on replacement coverage of buildings and a deductible. A larger deductible may save money. Insurance coverage may be needed when construction begins. Ask the insurance company if structural inspections are required.

XII. Recordkeeping

  • Maintain a log of who you have talked to and what they told you
  • Maintain a list of contacts for your records

Start keeping records with the first phone call or visit. Keep a log of time, date and a brief description of the conversation. There are many different organizations and professionals you will be talking to and it is easy to confuse the different government organizations. Keep a separate list of contacts with the following information: name, organization they represent, address, phone and email. These records will help you be much more productive and informed.


  • 1. Contact Soil Conservation District and NRCS (same office) and talk in depth over several different times about how they can help.
  • 2. Make sure the Soil Conservation District and NRCS knows exactly where your houses are located. Depending on the stormwater management plan, the location may need to be adjusted.
  • 3. Never assume NRCS, Soil Conservation District, and MDE are on the same page or the same time table. They are all different government agencies. Constant contact with all agencies is a must to check the status of your applications and permits.
  • 4. Maintain a log of contacts with the contact person, phone number and a description of the conservation.
  • 5. This process will be lengthy, but stay focused.


Authors: Jennifer Rhodes, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland Extension 505 Railroad Ave., Centreville, MD. 21617, 410-758-0166 jrhodes@umd.edu

Jennifer Timmons, Regional Extension Specialist, Poultry, University of Maryland Extension 27664 Nanticoke Rd., Salisbury, MD. 21801, 410-742-1178 mdchick@umd.edu

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Maryland, College Park, and local governments. Cheng-i Wei, Director of University of Maryland Extension.

The University of Maryland is equal opportunity. The University’s policies, programs, and activities are in conformance with pertinent Federal and State laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Educational Amendments; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; or related legal requirements should be directed to the Director of Human Resources Management, Office of the Dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Symons Hall, College Park, MD 20742.

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