Statement by Save the Illinois River on Proposed Poultry Farm Rules December 7, 2018
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is taking comments on new rules for licensing poultry farms. These rules are inadequate and were formed in closed meetings that barred the public and environmental activists''. You must email your objections to Andrea.Bair@ag.ok.gov before 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10. A vote on the rules is scheduled Dec. 11.
Stronger rules are needed to control new and expanding poultry farms in northeastern Oklahoma and to protect Oklahoma families and natural resources. More than 200 new poultry barns have been approved this year in a rampage of buildings primarily for Simmons Foods of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The barns are owned mostly by out of state residents and are built mainly by Arkansas contractors with Arkansas materials. Oklahoma is getting very little in return except, of course, for the manure and damage to our roads, air and water. These are factory farms that will raise hundreds of thousands of chickens a year and are located near homes, schools, private water wells and sensitive water resources like Spring Creek and the Illinois River. More tons of polluting chicken manure now must be managed through better, more proactive rules.
Before Monday, Nov. 10, tell the Oklahoma Agriculture Department its proposed rules are not adequate to protect air, water, quality of life and the heritage of Oklahoma families. Say that the department’s responsibility is to Oklahoma families and not to out of state corporations with a history of degrading our scenic rivers and lakes. Say that homes, churches,schools, cemeteries, recreation areas, streams and historic sites deserve greater setback protection than is being considered. Tell the agency that home owners deserve due process of law and should have an opportunity to protest new and expanding poultry farms, a right they do not enjoy now.
The Oklahoma Agriculture Department mismanaged licensing of poultry farms in Green Country through lack of communication, weak,industry-friendly rules and a cheap $10 license fee. Oklahoma families are worth a lot more than corporate profits. It's past time that Oklahoma adopted stronger, fairer and more protective rules for poultry farms.