Legislation that would help livestock producers deal with local zoning restrictions is moving in the Indiana General Assembly. Senate Bill 249, authored by State Senator Jean Leising, is designed to give livestock producers a tool to deal better with local zoning issues. “The rights of individual property owners are being eroded by their local government,” Leising said.
The measure has been amended to call for a statewide survey of local zoning regulations that govern livestock operations which will be done by Purdue. Indiana Pork Executive Director Josh Tranery says the survey is needed, “We have a good idea of what the zoning issues are in counties where we currently have disputes, but an up to date statewide snapshot would be helpful.” Tranery says uncertainty about local zoning issues and fears of local activist campaigns is hurting growth in livestock production by keeping some producers from expanding or starting new operations, “I am concerned that the fear of a lot of local push back may be putting plans for expansion on hold or even cancelling them altogether.”
Tranery says having a statewide survey will show what areas of the state welcome livestock operations and which do not, “If we can identify the areas where there is likely to be opposition, we can work in these areas to educate the public and local leaders before the issues come up.” He added some counties (namely Jackson and Bartholomew) have pursued moratoriums on new livestock facilities or placed stringent restrictions on barn construction or expansion.
The measure passed the Senate and was heard by the House Ag committee on Thursday. It passed unanimously and will now move to the full House for consideration.