Friday, January 25, 2013

COMMENTARY: How I came to be known as the Chicken Shit Queen

Back when I worked as a Research Assistant at the Department of Commerce, I literally knew what it was like to get the ‘shit’ jobs.
My boss called me in to her office and told me she had an important assignment for me. It was my first legislative query. One of the State Representatives from the Eastern part of Oklahoma wanted a report on chicken waste recycling.
Yes, even then, Oklahoma recognized their problem. With chicken farming in the east and pig farming in the west, they were literally up to their elbows in poop.
Worse, if they didn’t do something, that poop was going to taint their groundwater and nobody could wash off their dirty elbows or whatever part was affected.
My boss didn’t want the job—so she gave it to me. Her words, not mine.
Keep in mind, I don’t object to this kind of thing. I love science and the idea of recycling something nobody wants fits my values. So, I set to work contacting the folks in the industry to find out just what could be done.
I learned about pelletizing waste into fertilizer, or fuel pellets that would burn in stoves. Much to my dismay, I learned that many chicken breeders were already re-using their birds’ waste—by recycling it into chicken food feeding it back to them. Can’t say as I’ve cared for chicken much since.
Oh, and I got samples. My office was fragrant. The upside—my nose was usually stopped up that time of year and NOBODY came in to see what I was doing.
By the time I was done, I had a neat little report with a bunch of labeled odiferous exhibits.
And a nickname, The Chicken Shit Queen.
However, I got the last laugh. Because after all those years of taking shit from the Oklahoma Legislature, I got to send some right back to them. 
Rebecca McFarland Kyle, January 2013

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