This was a year when the Indiana livestock industry found itself battling restrictions both in the state legislature and at the local level. 2009 will be a year when the livestock producers will have to stay alert, not only for changes in the market but changes in their local communities. Greg Slipher, Livestock Specialist with Indiana Farm Bureau, told HAT animal agriculture is becoming a land use issue with county government in many areas of the state, “We live in a dynamic state where everyone has the opportunity to affect local rule and such is the case with livestock.” He said there are upwards of 30 counties where livestock production is an issue. He said it behooves producers to be informed and attend the meetings to accurately represent the livestock industry.

Slipher said more than a dozen counties in the state do not have zoning regulations and these may be areas where livestock production becomes an issue in 2009, “These counties need to have an open and informed discussion about how livestock production fits into their community and into the plans for zoning.” He said sooner or later these communities will have a discussion on zoning and livestock producers must be part of it.

Typically, these issues come before county plan commissions or zoning boards but, increasingly, local Boards of Health are getting involved, “We have had an incident in several counties where they have assumed it is their obligation to regulate livestock production beyond the scope of their authority,” said Slipher. He said it is not a widespread issue but one producers must keep an eye on in their communities.

Slipher urges all who are involved in agriculture to be aware and be involved in 2009.