The poultry industry in North Carolina is increasing the distance between chicken farms and residents as the industry continues to grow.

The standards say new poultry houses in the state will have to be constructed 1,000 feet away from a home.  And the number is 1500 feet if it's near schools, and churches.  It's the first time the industry has changed the rules since the mid-90's.

But some residents say this doesn't fix the problem. They're concerned the waste and pollution is impacting their health and the environment as the industry continues to grow. Will Scott, with the Yadkin Riverkeeper, says the guidelines aren't enough to protect residents.

“I think voluntary is the key word here,” says Scott. “This isn't something that if there's a problem with the facility that neighbors could actually go to their state representative to their local folks from the department of the environment and say this facility is in violation. There still relying on the industry to enforce these rules.”

Scott wants to see legislation on the issue. But the North Carolina Poultry Federation says more regulation would hurt the state's $34 billion industry. Bob Ford, with the North Carolina Poultry Federation, says they follow state and federal laws, and they're working.

“I know some of our industry folks have turned down requests for more poultry housing because it wasn't a good location to build them,” says Ford. “We now encourage poultry production buildings to be built 1,000 feet back and we think it will make us better neighbor to folks who live close by to some of these farms.”

Ford says the new rules have been distributed to county extension offices, banks and several other areas to let farmers and residents know about the changes. It also includes guidelines for establishing natural barriers, buffers and poultry waste treatment facilities.

The new distance standards officially went into effect on April 1.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news


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