Ag Groups Split Over Wild Hogs as ODAFF Moves Forward with Feral Hog Rule- State Board of Ag to Vote in MarchThu, 18 Feb 2016 13:54:10 CST
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is one step closer to adopting their proposed rule on controlling wild hogs- or feral swine- in the state of Oklahoma. In the purpose that is at the top of the proposal- the Agency says that the rule is to implement the Feral Swine Control Act and (in new proposed language) "to adopt aggressive measures for the eradication of all feral swine in the State of Oklahoma." The purpose goes on to state that "Feral swine pose a health risk to humans, livestock, companion animals and native wildlife. The Department's goal is to render the State of Oklahoma free of feral swine." The proposed rule can be seen here.
The public comment period for the rule ended at 5:00 PM today- and earlier this Wednesday afternoon, there was a rather subdued public hearing in the Board Room at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture building. Only four asked to make public comments- two individuals and two representing organizations. The first organization that asked to speak was the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Marla Peek represented Farm Bureau- and called for the rule as written "be withdrawn and redrafted with the goal of true feral hog eradication." Farm Bureau contends that "continuation of trophy hunting is not a pathway to feral hog eradication. Licenses for swine sporting facilities should be allowed to expire." The written comments submitted by the general farm organization can be seen here.
The other organization that made a brief verbal presentation was the Oklahoma Pork Council. Their Executive Director, Roy Lee Lindsay, expressed general support for the proposed Rule- and acknowledged that the problem of wild hogs in the state is a huge issue- one that will not be dealt with fully by this rule- but he added that it is much better than the little that is being done now and can be an excellent start on the journey of ridding Oklahoma of its feral swine population.
Two organizations that offered written comments but that did not speak were the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and the American Farmers and Ranchers. RON talked with Michael Kelsey of the OCA about the comments they submitted and you can click here to hear his thoughts and read their generally supportive comments regarding the rule.
Terry Detrick, President of the American Farmers and Ranchers submitted a brief one page statement as the comments from the general farm group on the proposal regarding wild hogs- and indicated that they support the "goal by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to eradicate them. However, due to the terrain in many parts of Oklahoma we believe that goal may well be impossible to achieve, but progress will be made by aiming for it." You can read the comments from AFR by clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of this story.
After the public hearing, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Oklahoma State Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese about the rule and about the process of tackling the Feral Swine problem in the state. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to their conversation.
With the closing of the public comments, the rule will be considered at the next Oklahoma Board of Agriculture meeting March first- State Veterarian Rod Hall told RON that there will be some changes that will come from the comments that were submitted as the Board considers the Rule on March first. If the Board approves a new Rule on attacking the Feral Swine problem, the approved language still faces final approval by the State Legislature.
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