(By Senators Whitlow, Anderson, Dittmar, Dugan, Helmick,

Love, Miller, Minear, Ross and White)

Requesting the appointment of a special joint committee to conduct an interim study relating to the poultry industry in West Virginia.

Whereas, The poultry industry is West Virginia's fastest growing agricultural industry, with poultry and eggs accounting for thirty-seven percent of all West Virginia agricultural commodities in cash receipts in 1993; and
Whereas, The industry, located primarily in a five-county area in the Eastern Panhandle (Hardy, Hampshire, Grant, Mineral and Pendleton counties), has three hundred seventy-five producers and processors employing more than three thousand West Virginians; and
Whereas, Associated with the rapid growth of the industry are growing concerns about the environmental impact of poultry production, particularly the resulting waste, on the state's water quality and solid waste disposal facilities; and
Whereas, The West Virginia department of agriculture, in association with the twelve-member West Virginia poultry water quality advisory committee, has produced voluntary standards on managing and disposing of litter, applying nutrients correctly, disposing of dead birds and maintaining environmental stability; and
Whereas, Small poultry processors which are not subject to inspection by the United States department of agriculture have expressed the desire to have their facilities inspected in order to sell in interstate markets; and
Whereas, The Legislature has under consideration amendments to article two-b, chapter nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, to authorize inspection by the West Virginia department of agriculture of poultry processing operations in a manner parallel to the inspection of meat operations; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Delegates create a special joint committee to conduct an interim study relating to the poultry industry in West Virginia; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the special joint committee be comprised of the members of the Senate agriculture committee and the members of the House of Delegates agriculture and natural resources committee; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the study by the special joint committee address, but not be limited to, the following subject areas:
1. The environmental impact of the poultry industry on the natural resources of the state, including proposing strategies for reducing the actual and/or potentially damaging impacts of poultry operations;
2. Protection of the health and safety of workers in the industry;
3. The promotion of the production of value-added products from raw agricultural products of the industry;
4. The degree of the industry's compliance with the voluntary standards "Nutrient Management and Water Quality Practices for the West Virginia Poultry Industry" and the further need for, or lack of, legislative rules to regulate the industry; and
5. The present and anticipated impact of the industry on the workload of the West Virginia department of agriculture; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the special joint committee be authorized to conduct public hearings at one or more places throughout the state for the purpose of receiving public comment on the issues under consideration and be authorized to take testimony at any such hearing; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the special joint committee report to the regular session of the Legislature, 1996, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations together with its report and drafts of any proposed legislation or rules necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft any proposed legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the joint committee on government and finance.