The Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture not act on a new set of rules involving new poultry operation registrations in the state during its December 11 meeting, which ultimately leaves the state’s current moratorium on such operations in place until May 31, 2019.
That moratorium has been in place since October, but it was never intended to be permanent.
The continued suspension on accepting and processing applications does not impact the nearly 600 existing poultry operations, which are mainly located in the eastern part of the state, reported the Muskogee Phoenix. However, it does impact those wanting to start operations with over 30,000 birds.
Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese expressed disappointment that a consensus on the new rules was unable to be reached. State agricultural officials listened to hours of input from the public, fielded 191 comments and had many discussions with producers and concerned neighbors.
“It is a very important, yet highly contentious issue that we worked very hard to address. At the same time, we are happy to punt it to the legislature,” Reese said.
Reese said there are at least three or four poultry businesses awaiting approval, but there could be more waiting to open that haven’t yet applied.
The moratorium was put in place following recent surge of new registrations in the eastern part of Oklahoma. It also came 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.
Fallin did not seek re-election as governor because of term limit laws. Her term will end in January, when Kevin Stitt will assume the office.