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Chickens, Pollution at Core of States' Dispute

Each house at Gene Farr's farm in Lincoln holds more than 25,000 chickens. The red units at left are watering stations.
Greg Allen, NPR
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Each house at Gene Farr's farm in Lincoln holds more than 25,000 chickens. The red units at left are watering stations.
Monitors like these, meant to gauge water pollution from chicken farms, were traced to Oklahoma's attorney general.
Greg Allen, NPR /
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Monitors like these, meant to gauge water pollution from chicken farms, were traced to Oklahoma's attorney general.
Gene Farr raises more than 625,000 chickens a year on his farm near Lincoln, Ark.
Greg Allen, NPR /
/
Gene Farr raises more than 625,000 chickens a year on his farm near Lincoln, Ark.

Water monitors recently found in Arkansas creeks have state officials angry over what the call the clandestine monitoring of their chicken industry. The monitors were traced back to Oklahoma's attorney general, who is threatening to sue the Arkansas chicken industry.

While the discovery of the water monitors was an embarrassment, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson and other officials are refusing to back off their contention that Arkansas must do more to police chicken suppliers within its borders. The state is home to several huge poultry companies.

The problem, everyone agrees, is the high level of phosphorus in the area's streams and rivers. Phosphorus is found in fertilizer and manure, and can run off from yards, golf courses, construction sites -- and chicken farms.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.
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