Delaware County Mega Chicken Barns
Bureaucrats to Us: Take this shovel and use it!
Agencies closed the barn doors after the chickens were out and STIR's president cries "Fowl"!
From the Muskogee Phoenix by D.E. Smoot.
State's poultry mitigation program earns federal partnership status
A state conservation program designed to mitigate the environmental harm caused by the poultry industry in eastern Oklahoma will receive federal funds as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
Conservation partners collaborate with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to help stakeholders address issues such as climate change, water quality, drought, soil health, wildlife habitat and agricultural viability. The Oklahoma Conservation Commission will receive $710,000 for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, "an area-wide conservation planning process (designed) to address resource concerns related to large-scale, concentrated poultry production facilities located near residences in eastern Oklahoma."
Trey Lam, the agency's executive director, discussed the program in August during a legislative interim study of poultry feeding operations. While stakeholders had met a couple of times, he said the pandemic delayed implementation of the program, which is scheduled to get underway this summer.
Shanon Phillips, director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Water Quality Division, said the program's "purpose is to bring poultry growers and their neighbors together with technical experts to discuss challenges of living near a large facility and implement solutions designed to reduce those impacts.” Her comments came in a media release announcing the RCPP award.
“Neighbors have been concerned with domestic water rights, water quality, traffic, dust and odors, and other issues," Phillips said, noting in the media release the importance of "a respectful dialog between neighbors and growers" and opportunities for future industry expansion. "Project partners will use conservation practices, education, and other supporting programs to help neighbors address these challenges."
Information available online notes the program will include the"implementation of bundled conservation activities on grower operations and neighboring properties." Those activities are expected to "be based on locally developed recommendations" that "address nutrient and bacteria runoff, traffic dust and odors, surface-water contamination, and potential domestic well-water depletion, or contamination."
Announcement of the RCPP and federal funds was met with some skepticism among those who have dealt with the poultry industry in the past. Denise Deason-Toyne, president of Save the Illinois River, said this "bureaucratic largesse is too little, and way too late."
"The time for discussions between neighbors and these mega-poultry farms is before they are built, not after," said Deason-Toyne, who continues to wait after more than a decade for U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell to rule in a lawsuit filed by the state Oklahoma against Arkansas poultry companies. "These intrusive barns with hundreds of thousands of chickens and their manure were approved without asking adjoining landowners how they felt."
Deason-Toyne said poultry feeding operations are allowed to be built in Oklahoma without any notice provided to adjacent property owners or any opportunity for property owners to object prior to construction. Residents who live near some of these factory farms have complained about growers who built barns before applying for water permits, which require some notice, and then claimed financial hardship to secure those permits based on investments already made.
"We are going to try and bring all these poultry growers and their neighbors together and come up with solutions for these problems after the fact," Deason-Toyne said. "All they are doing now is showing us how to use our shovels to pick up their manure."
Tyler Norvell, director of Oklahoma Operations for The Poultry Federation, said in the media release his organization was "excited to hear that this project is an NRCS RCCP award recipient because it will help us move forward in our dual roles as a good neighbor and a significant economic contributor to the state."
This project is made possible by the grant from the USDA NRCS with support and partnership provided by the Grand River Dam Authority, the Poultry Integrators in eastern Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation, and funding from the Oklahoma Legislature, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Section 319 program. There are currently 336 active RCPP projects that have engaged more than 2,000 partners
Subject: Public Notice for Draft 2020 Integrated Report
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