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Chatham Health Board Passes Strict Livestock Rules

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Chatham County Board of Health meeting
PITTSBORO — As factory-style hog farms proliferateacross North Carolina, more and more neighbors are complaining aboutenvironmental concerns and the aroma. On Tuesday, Chatham County's healthboard enacted livestock and poultry regulations that are stricter than thestate's.

Chatham's rules include buffers of up to 5,500 feet between largelivestock operations and occupied buildings on neighboring property.

The rules apply to Intensive Livestock Operations (ILO), which:

  • Use a liquid waste handling system (a lagoon).
  • Confine the animals and feed them other than by grazing.
  • Have a certain number of animals.
  • ILO farmers also would have to post bonds to cover cleanup costs iftheir lagoons spill or had to be closed after a farm failed, and wouldhave to pay to have their wells tested regularly.

    Paul McCoy, longtime president of the county farm bureau, said that theregulations would kill farming in Chatham, a county whose agriculturallifestyle goes back 200 years.

    Barbara Lorie, a livestock opponent who spoke during the public hearingprior to the board's vote, alleged that the legislature and governor havebeen "bought off" by big farm operators. She said the "buck stops" at theChatham County health board.

    Eighty percent of statelegislators received campaign contributions from swine supporters. Fortheir part, the lawmakers argue that a high number of their constituentsare also opposed to the large farm concept, especially hog farms.

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