Oklahoma agriculture board punts poultry rules to lawmakers

OKLAHOMA CITY –  The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture wants state lawmakers to develop rules for poultry operations.

The board Tuesday declined to approve or reject rules requiring large poultry operations to be at least one-quarter mile from occupied homes and one-half mile from public schools or city limits, in addition to distance requirements from public highways, property lines, certain streams and private and public water wells.

Environmentalists and homeowners in northeastern Oklahoma, where numerous poultry companies operate, say the rules are not strong enough to protect water or prevent pollution. The state’s Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association says there was not enough time for additional input on the proposal.

State Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese says he’s disappointed a decision wasn’t made, but says “we are happy to punt it to the Legislature.”

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