Lobbyist Tyler Norvell Chalks Up 2019 Legislative Session a Success for Oklahoma's Poultry IndustryThu, 02 May 2019 16:47:46 CDT
The 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session is nearing its end as policymakers this week started to shift focus to the budget phase of the process. Tyler Norvell of the Poultry Federation of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, joined Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn in studio this week to offer his review of this year’s session from a poultry industry perspective as well as an outlook on what may come from the budget process now in its early stages. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Norvell, the poultry industry was met primarily with two issues that commanded most of his attention this session. The most prominent being the controversary that sparked in northeast Oklahoma around the start of the new year when residents cried foul in protest of the local poultry industry’s rapid growth in the area.
“In January, the poultry industry was making a lot of headlines, especially in northeast Oklahoma, dealing with the setbacks and the growth of the poultry industry there,” Norvell recounted. “Some of the locals, you might say the extremists, kind of fought back and didn’t like that. But it brought back tons of opportunities and economic development and tax revenue to that part of the state.”
Despite the obvious benefits, the outcry from residents was too great for the government to ignore. However, Norvell says in the end, the outcome placated the concerned citizens while at the same time protected the industry’s path forward for continued growth.
“We thought that was going to be a big battle this session, but thanks to the leadership of Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur and the Governor, they handled that through administrative rules and did some setbacks,” he said, clarifying that these new rules will officially go into effect this September. “We don’t ever want setbacks… more regulation on agriculture. But we felt they were more than fair.”
In addition, Norvell says the poultry industry was excited to witness the recent signing of a bill championed by the Oklahoma Pork Council, that caps non-economic damages on ag nuisance suits. H.B. 2373 sets the cap at $250,000 or three times the actual damages that are awarded in any nuisance case - whichever is greater. This bill was crafted to preempt any cases similar to what has been observed in North Carolina with unfounded lawsuits targeting major integrators for lucrative payouts.
As state leaders turn their attention to formulating a budget, the major sticking point has become the speculation over whether or not lawmakers will agree to another teacher pay raise, according to Norvell who assures that despite past flirtations with the idea - farmers’ ag sales tax exemption is currently safe and any tampering with ad valorem taxes or capital gains is considered strictly off the table. Overall, though, Norvell expects the budget to yield several positives for the ag industry and rural Oklahoma.
“I think there is going to be some really great things for rural Oklahoma in this budget, whether it’s for Extension Services, water infrastructure… there may also be some money for some cost share efforts for producers who do environmentally friendly things,” he said. “And then they’ve already passed a big supplemental budget for country roads and bridges which we all know we need in rural Oklahoma. And nowhere do I see any tax increases on the ag industry. So, it’s been a very successful session for the Poultry Federation.”
Listen to Norvell’s full conversation with Horn for more of his insights into how the 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session has unfolded, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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