TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture has temporarily halted processing new registrations for poultry feeding operations so a newly formed council can address resident concerns about the increase in poultry houses.
The moratorium announcement comes about a week after the first meeting of the Coordinating Council on Poultry Growth, The Tulsa World reported . Gov. Mary Fallin and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker announced the creation of the council last month to address residents’ concerns.
Eastern Oklahoma has seen more than 200 new poultry houses within the past year, according to department data. Residents at community meetings in July and August expressed concerns about how the increase in chicken houses will impact water quality and supply, property values, road maintenance and air quality.
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said a moratorium wasn’t immediately implemented because numerous houses were in various stages of approval.
“It’s hard to just turn on a dime and change direction real quick, because a lot of people were in various stages of seeking farms,” he said. “We wanted to make certain we weren’t adversely affecting a whole lot of people on both sides.”
Reese said officials expect to resolve some of the issues and begin taking registrations again shortly. He said the moratorium will allow officials to ensure the poultry industry has more structured growth.
“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,” he said.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com
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