Editorial: Swine Farm Permitting in the 2019 NC Farm Act (Part 2 of 3)

By: NC Senator Brent Jackson

North Carolina’s swine industry is one of the largest in the nation. Back in 2007, a moratorium was place on these farms and has not been lifted since. The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for permitting and review of swine farms using anaerobic digesters as their primary waste management system.

The language in the Farm Act of 2019 lays out an additional clarification that would allow for certain changes to be made on these farms. These are primarily technological changes that would meet certain performance standards listed in the bill. Generally speaking, the new technology could reduce waste, decrease emissions, control heavy metals, and other such improvements.

However, as we see frequently when agricultural issues are discussed, misinformation has spread that this section allows swine farms to expand or relocate. Simply put, it will not. The language specifically states that the changes must not result in an increased capacity of the operation.

The Department has also already allowed some of these technology upgrades to proceed and our intention from the beginning was to bring this practice in line with the law. It is beneficial to everyone when our hog farmers have access to this technology and we are all in favor of reducing waste and emissions. North Carolina agriculture remains our largest industry and the backbone of our state. And because of that we must pass legislation that ensures a future for our farmers

Part 1: Why I Support The 2019 NC Farm Act