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Eastern Shore farmers express concern about fertilizer rules

SALISBURY — Eastern Shore farmers are expressing concerns about new rules relating to how they apply poultry manure to their crops.

Farmers talked about their concerns Tuesday night in Salisbury with state agriculture officials.

Maryland Department of Agriculture officials say the phosphorus management tool will be phased in for farms with a fertility index value of 150 or higher.

The changes were proposed in December. They were based on about a decade of University of Maryland research into how phosphorous moves through soil.

If the proposal is implemented on Jan. 1, 2015, many farmers on the Lower Shore will have to change how they fertilize their crops.

Virgil Shockley, a Worcester County farmer and county commissioner, says he believes the changes will have a $120 million impact on the Lower Shore.