Agriculture & Rural Development

 

SB 46 (Muegge/Pope, Clay): Expands the definition of eggs to include egg products manufactured from raw eggs and intended for human consumption. This act also regulates the ambient temperature standards for the storage and transportation of eggs, provides information to the consumers on the quality of eggs, and lowers the fees of Oklahoma and other shell egg producers/packers from 4 mill to 3 mill.

SB 1009 (Muegge/Covey): Allows the use of a safety device for towing if the device provides strength, security of attachment and directional stability equal to or greater than that provided by safety chains and prevents parting from the drawing vehicle should the regular coupling device become disengaged. The device must be designed, constructed and installed so that, if the tow-bar becomes disconnected, the tow-bar will not drop to the ground.

SB 1170 (Muegge/Liest): Creates the "Oklahoma Registered Poultry Feeding Operations Act" which will regulate for the first time the state's growing poultry industry. This act contains several provisions that will protect the state's water supply, especially in eastern Oklahoma. Under this act, poultry operations will have to register with the State Department of Agriculture. The act establishes guidelines to follow in the registration process. Some requirements for registration include providing a copy of the Animal Waste Management Plan, Best Management Practices, or any other plans authorized by the State Department of Agriculture. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Quality to monitor state lakes and identify those it determines to be eutrophic.

This act also creates the "Oklahoma Poultry Waste Transfer Act" to encourage the transfer of poultry waste out of designated environmentally sensitive watersheds and the "Oklahoma Poultry Waste Applicators Certification Act" which prohibits doing business or advertising as a commercial poultry waste applicator or applying poultry waste without a certificate from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Other provisions include standards for handling, treatment, management and removal of poultry waste, inspections of the poultry feeding operation, violation point system, and requiring the large poultry corporations doing business in the state to enter into a contract with Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service to provide 9 hours of educational training courses on "best management practices" to poultry feeding operations and land applicators of poultry waste . The corporations will pay $150,000 the first year and $50,000 for each of the three subsequent years for this educational training.

SB 1175 (Muegge/Leist): Following the passage of HJR 1093 which implemented a one year moratorium on any new or expanding animal feeding operation in Oklahoma, SB 1175(1) responds to the concerns that led to the passage of the moratorium. The measure repeals the moratorium as of August 1, 1998 and makes significant modifications largely to those aspects of the Oklahoma Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Act that relate specifically to swine. The bill implements the following major provi-sions:

  • prohibits construction of any new or expanding swine facility until the Department of Agriculture issues a building permit;

  • Provides uniform statewide setback requirements from the closest occupied residences;

  • prohibits any swine operation from locating within 3 miles of certain recreational sites or public drinking water supplies;

  • authorizes the Department of Agriculture to assess fees on swine operations of $.80 per animal unit capacity annually;

  • requires installation of leak detection systems or sufficient monitoring wells around each waste retention structure for the purpose of ensuring greater protection of the state's water supply;

  • requires waste education and training for all persons involved in the treatment, storage or application of animal waste; and

  • requires facilities to develop an Odor Abatement Plan to address methods for reducing odors caused by animal maintenance, waste storage and land application, and carcass disposal.

HB 2487 (Benson/Kerr): Amends provisions governing the election of directors and alternative directors to the board of directors of the Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Organization. The bill authorizes the board to conduct elections for lawful purposes, including assessment modification policies to deal with natural disasters. The bill exempts certain expenditures relating to boil weevil eradication from central purchasing provisions.

HB 2914 (Dunegan/Mickle): Develops a strategy to fight fire ants. This bill creates a Fire Ant Research and Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the State Board of Agriculture pertaining to fire ant research, communication with other infested states, and management of fire ant infestation problems.

This measure also directs the State Department of Agriculture to work with the Oklahoma State University in a coordinated effort to fight fire ants. Among the items mandated for the effort are research, grant, public awareness and educational programs, as well as attracting available federal dollars for fire ant research and management.

HJR 1093 (Benson/Taylor): Imposes a one-year moratorium on issuance of licenses and permits by the State Department of Agriculture for swine feeding operations and on the issuance of permits by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for use of water for licensed managed feeding operations. The moratorium applies to OWRB permits to be issued within three miles of property owned by a non-profit organization which provides outdoor recreational activities to its membership, or any water well used as a public water supply. The moratorium does not apply to:

  • license renewals which do not increase swine population;

  • applications submitted prior to the resolutions effective date for facilities in compliance with state law;

  • construction to repair or replace components of existing facilities which does not increase a facility's swine population; or

  • any construction or expansion to comply with animal waste management rules and not for the purpose of increasing swine population.

This moratorium went into effect March 9, 1998 for a period of one year.

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