The Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture has placed an immediate moratorium on new registrations for poultry feeding operations.

The decision comes at a time that follows a slowdown to the recent surge of new registrations in the eastern part of the state. It also comes about one week after the newly formed Coordinating Council on Poultry Growth had its first meeting. The council’s formation was announced in September by Gov. Mary Fallin and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief John Baker, with the two saying the council would be a way to address concerns about the growth of the poultry industry in Eastern Oklahoma.

““This will give us time to take a pause and ascertain some things so that we can have a more structured growth of the poultry industry,” Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said to the Tulsa World. “Registrations had slowed down significantly, with none in September, and we thought it was a good time to take a pause and ensure that the poultry industry is able to grow without the concerns that have occurred. I believe that can be done.”

Some of the concerns shown by Oklahomans included those related to water quality and supply, air quality, road conditions and maintenance and the impact chicken farms would have on their properties.

Reese said he does not expect the moratorium to last long, adding that it is “hard to just turn on a dime and change direction real quick, because a lot of people were in various stages of seeking farms.

The coordinating council is being co-chaired by Reese and Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill. It includes staff members from the Cherokee Nation along with staff from Oklahoma’s Department of Food, Forestry and Agriculture, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Grand River Dam Authority, and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.