Buffie’s Poultry Farm is planned for a site 35 miles east of downtown Aiken, provided it receives a state agricultural permit. The farm site in Salley also sits 35 miles north of downtown Barnwell.
There are already 224 poultry farms in Aiken County, according to the 2012 agriculture census. It is a 57 percent jump in poultry farms since 2007. Aiken is among the top five counties producing broilers, young chickens raised for meat, according to the S.C. Poultry Federation. Overall, South Carolina ranks 17th in the nation for egg production.
Despite such growth, poultry farms also raise local objections.
In March 2013 a businessman proposing an eight-barn poultry farm 60 miles north of downtown Aiken, prevailed against a community challenge. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control board sided with P&W Poultry in Newberry County and upheld its permit. The board did so after listening to residents express fears of dust, pollution, clouds of dander, manure odors, truck traffic and water contamination.
Aiken County is not alone in its plans to add more chickens to its landscape.
New poultry farms are also proposed for Oconee and Newberry counties, while the owners of the existing Chicken Shak, LLC, are asking state regulators for permission to expand its operation in Clarendon County.
The public may comment on the Aiken County proposal, which also includes plans for managing manure, for the next 30 days, starting Aug. 12. If DHEC receives at least 20 written comments, state regulators will hold a public hearing on the proposed farm.