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Agricultural Community Meets to Oppose Possible Regulation Within the County

A meeting of local agricultural members was held on January 5, 2021 at the Otto Britt Fair Grounds Building. 
Photo by: W. Clay Crook / The Lexington Progress

Article by W. Clay Crook-

Well over a hundred members of the agricultural community met at the Otto Britt Building on Tuesday evening, January 5, 2021 to express their concerns over possible restrictions and regulations to agriculture within Henderson County. Masks and social distancing were observed to comply with COVID-19 safety measures. The main issue is a proposal by the groups that are opposed to chicken barns / mega-chicken barns, that they say could very easily restrict or lead to over regulation of agricultural enterprises in the county. The Henderson County Commission would first need to confirm a county health board before the No Tyson and related groups could submit their proposal.

Information on a Tyson plant in West Tennessee was announced over three years ago, and many who engage in farming, both full-time and part-time in Henderson County, have reviewed these barn facilities elsewhere and have found them to be well run facilities that are well within compliance and environmental standards.  Some family-owned operations have already built poultry barns with plans to supply for Tyson, but only after they had researched, visited facilities in Tennessee and the surrounding states, and complied with all of the regulations necessary. “We want to inform the public that there are two sides to the issue,” one speaker said, “and to inform the public on the safety processes and permit procedures that are in place to keep the barns safe and clean.”

Regulations are very strict, and even a standard has to be passed that assures that there are no old Native American burying grounds on site contractual restrictions also prohibit the composting or incinerating of dead poultry. “Everything is automated, lights, feed, water…it’s all very high tech, it’s not raising chickens in the back yard,” said one participant. As for traffic concerns, traffic can be as light as one truck a week.

“We row cropped growing up, truck patched, raised hogs and cattle. This is another way to support the family agricultural business, and the last six months have been trying for me,” David Blankenship said. Blankenship has two barns completed in the Beech Grove Road area.

The feeling was expressed several times that people often believe the first thing they see on the internet, and according to the group, there is a great bit of misinformation on the world wide web, and research is important. The amount of land available for agriculture each year grows less, and modern operations are needed to fill that gap. “It’s a good chance that most of the chicken that you eat comes from Tyson,” one speaker said, and the industry has to be supported by grain, soybeans, and…

For the complete story, see the January 13th edition of The Lexington Progress.

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