It’s official: No new hog farms in North Carolina for four more years.

The North Carolina House of Representatives last week voted to continue the moratorium on new or expanded hog operations in the state until Sept. 1, 2007. The state Senate had previously approved the measure. The governor is expected to sign it. He strongly supports the legislation to allow more time for researchers to seek effective, practical manure-handling technologies to replace lagoons and spray fields.

Other swine-related bills are working their way through the state’s legislative system:

  • One would phase out all manure lagoons and sprayfields on North Carolina pork production operations by Sept. 1, 2008. The North Carolina Pork Council opposes the legislation.
  • Another would clarify the state environmental agency’s enforcement policy allowing a producer to use 7" of freeboard—versus the currently required 19" to 12"–during times of chronic rainfall. This measure would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2003, and would reduce the number of  “notices of violation” placed on producers’ state environmental records as a result of heavy rainfall this year. One such notice can adversely affect  a producer’s ability to obtain financing. NCPC strongly supports this bill.

Both bills are being intensely discussed in House and Senate committee sessions by proponents and opponents.