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TOP STORY, Aug. 26, 2014

Business school director ponders PMT pros, cons

 

By BRUCE HOTCHKISS

Senior Editor


SALISBURY, Md. — Four loose leaf binders sat on the desk of Dr. Memo Diriker , director of BEACON, the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network at the Perdue University School of Business here.
Each of the binders was four inches thick.
They contained an estimated 4,500 sheets of paper or documents which he had received since accepting the enormous challenge of, at least, helping to settle the divisive debate in Maryland over the implementation of what is known as the Phosphorous Management Tool.
Dr. Diriker, along with presumably members of his staff, had taken on the task of deciding the economic impact of the two scenarios offered by the PMT — cut back to the bone on the use of poultry manure as fertilizer on the farm fields primarily of the Lower Eastern Shore, or, in the process, economically ravage farming and farm life on the Lower Shore amd break the region’s agricultural economic backbone.
Two committees — one presenting those who would urge the immediate implementation of the PMT and the other who would argue against it — were appointed to assist Dr. Diriker.
He invited them to express their opinions to him writing.
Those messages and douments are what is in the four loose leaf binders and Dr. Diriker’s task was to at least review them.
Dr. Diriker had intended to turn some sort of report into the Maryland Department of Agriculture before the end of July and as of this writing was not yet able to do so.
“When I realized that I was not going to make my original deadline.,” he said, “I went to the department and they graciously understood the need for a delay.”
Even last week, he hesitated, he said to “go on record” with a prediction as to when his reportt might be satisfactorily completed.
His task, as he saw it, would be similar to other studies with which he was familiar --- “the economic assessment of a policy decision.”
What he faced, he realized, was “a very, very different opinion” of what the proposed implementation of the PMT was going to do.
Indeed, it became apparent that he would redefine this task, to, as the explained it along “a middle ot he road scenario.”
He would, he con continued, provide an economic assessment of what each course of action would entail “and let those who make a lot more money than I do make the decision.”