WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today welcomed the inclusion in the Senate passed Farm Bill of two key Inhofe provisions addressing poultry waste, one of the most pressing issues facing Oklahoma agriculture. The Senate Farm Bill passed today by a vote of 79-14.
“I am particularly pleased that the Senate Farm Bill includes two provisions addressing poultry waste, one of the most pressing issues facing Oklahoma agriculture,” Senator Inhofe said. “The issue of poultry waste is of great importance to my home state because Oklahoma is among the states with the most concentrated animal feeding operations in the nation. Concerns have been raised about the possible environmental impacts of these facilities, particularly the impact they have on water supplies.
“Earlier this year I was pleased to invite Oklahoma State University Professor Mike Dicks to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at a hearing focusing on this very issue. Professor Dicks discussed the need to harness this resource rather than treat it simply as a waste. I agree with Professor Dicks, and believe that a great potential exists to create energy from animal waste. As a result, I have worked to ensure we pursue all options for addressing this byproduct.
“Specifically, the Senate Farm bill includes my amendment authorizing the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to establish a ‘Poultry Sustainability Research Council’ aimed at identifying new ways to address poultry waste. The Council will focus on the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the industry. The bill also includes a provision, at my request, that designates the Illinois River Watershed as one of the priority areas for regional water programs. Such a designation makes the watershed eligible for coordinating various United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation initiatives to work together to address the needs of northeastern Oklahoma.”