Environmental Rules Drawn up for Idaho Farmers

IDAHO, US - State regulators and a variety of outside groups are closing in on the final rules ahead of the rise of Idaho poultry farms.
calendar icon 19 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) held a public meeting to edit rules governing poultry operations, reports the publication, Magic Valley.

That followed this spring, when the Legislature passed a bill that transferred the authority for inspecting and regulating poultry operations from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to ISDA.

John Bilderback, section manager for the ISDA dairy and confined-animal feeding operations bureau, said: "The Legislature put together the rules but now we are going through them and finessing the details and adding changes where the legislators may have missed."

The structure of the operation rules was taken from the department’s beef and dairy industry rules.

He continued: "There isn't much of a difference from the beef and dairy operation rules. Basically, there was a selection of the best parts from each."

One of the major roadblocks is settling on whether to enforce groundwater regulations on poultry operators, Mr Bilderback said.

He explained: "The beef and dairy industry do not have groundwater regulations in their operation rules. This would be something new."

Such regulations would give the state a chance to monitor poultry air and water quality from the beginning, said Courtney Washburn, community conservation director for the Idaho Conservation League.

She said: "We're trying to enforce air and water rules in the early stages. The state has more experience now with the animal industry and these new rules can reflect the lessons learned instead of repeating the same mistakes."

However, some argue that groundwater regulations are unnecessary.

Magic Valley reports that poultry producers do not use water the same way dairy or beef producers do, said Matt Thompson, owner of Ag Tec Engineering, an agriculture engineering and environmental consulting firm in Twin Falls.

He explained: "On a poultry farm, everything is contained. This would be very costly to poultry producers if these regulations were enforced."

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