State moves to create more restrictions on poultry operations

New setback rules for poultry operations in Oklahoma have been approved by the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture but residents fighting expanded operations in eastern Oklahoma say they don’t go far enough.

The residents began protesting sudden expansion of some poultry farms last year and claimed it would only add to environmental problems for the Illinois River, not to mention their drinking water sources.

The Board voted 3-2 to include setbacks for new or expanding construction of poultry barns. The rules were sent to the legislature which has the final say whether they became law.

“There are currently no regulations in place on any poultry housing locations; however, we recognize the importance of poultry in Oklahoma and also recognize the voices of concerned Oklahomans,” said Blayne Arthur, Commissioner of Oklahoma Agriculture and President of the State Board of Agriculture. “These setbacks will help enhance the living conditions of citizens and also will continue to support the poultry industry, which has a large economic impact on our state.”

The two opposing votes came from board members who fear the proposed setbacks could lead to similar moves against other agricultural industries.

Click here to read the proposed rule change.