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Indiana Farmers Disappointed with Livestock Bill defeat

01 May 2007

INDIANA - Indiana livestock farmers are disappointed legislation that would have strengthened the state’s program to inspect confined livestock feeding operations failed to come out of conference committee during this session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Senate Bill 431 died in conference committee because conferees could not agree on whether the final bill should include a statewide setback requirement for all new confined livestock feeding facilities. “A basic foundation of home rule in Indiana is to have local control over planning and zoning,” explained Don Villwock, president of Indiana Farm Bureau. “The proposed one-size-fits-all setback would have taken away the county’s local control to determine the best zoning and site planning for confined livestock farms.”

Senate Bill 431, authored by Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, would have provided that livestock farmers contribute about $500,000 to the inspection program through increased application fees and new annual operating fees. Together with funds appropriated for livestock inspections in the 2007-2009 biennial budget, this would have provided nearly $1 million in additional funds each year for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s livestock facility inspection program. “We are disappointed legislators could not come to agreement on Senate Bill 431,” Villwock said. “The bill contained many components that were supported by farmers, environmental organizations and opponents to large livestock operations, and it’s unfortunate our lawmakers allowed this bill to die in conference committee.”

Villwock praised Gard for her commitment to finding reasonable and fair legislation to address the politically charged issue of confined livestock feeding operations. “We thank Senator Gard for taking on this issue and using sound science and common sense as her guide,” added Villwock. In addition to more on-farm inspections, the bill required IDEM to be more accountable in its management of the livestock compliance program and to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on its activities concerning confined livestock farms.

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Source: HoosierAgToday


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