Chicken Farmers Gearing Up to Protest Homeland Security Mandate

ANNAPOLIS, MD - Are chicken houses the next battleground in the war on terror?

Poultry growers are squaking mad over proposed regulations from the Dept. of Homeland Security that anybody with 7,500 pounds or more of propane gas register with the agency.  The threshold is low enough that poultry farmers who use propane to heat chicken houses may be affected.

The proposal would require many farmers to register with the agency and fill out a risk assessment about their propane tanks.  By industry counts, up to 40,000 farms could be affected.

Two U.S. Senators from Maryland and a Senator from Delaware have sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff calling the possible crackdown on chicken houses a waste of government time and money.

A Homeland Security spokesman says farmers would only need to spend "a couple hours" online to comply and that the agency is right to compile data on dangerous chemicals used, even in rural areas.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)