Kansas Governor Signs Controversial Poultry Bill

Governor Jeff Colyer of Kansas signed into law a bill that aims to lure large-scale poultry processors in the State.

The bill passed in the Senate last month and in the House last March 12. It greatly expands the number of chickens the growers can house in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) before they would be required to obtain a state environmental permit.

Agribusiness groups and the Kansas Department of Agriculture strongly supported the bill, saying that it would enable Kansas farmers to produce more “value-added” meat products for consumers.

But the bill came in the wake of a recent controversy in northeast Kansas where Tyson Foods proposed building a large-scale slaughter and processing plant in Tonganoxie that sparked widespread public opposition.

Tyson would rely on large-scale CAFOs such as those provided for in the bill to supply its chicken plant. Those facilities are owned by individual growers who buy and raise chickens on contract with Tyson.

As per the bill, growers using what’s known as a dry manure processing system could house up to a third of a million birds at one location before being required to obtain a permit from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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