N.C. producers need help sustaining pork industry

From Deborah M. Johnson, chief executive officer of the N.C. Pork Council:

The N.C. Pork Council and our members were greatly disappointed that proposed legislation which would have sustained the economic vitality of our state's pork industry failed to become law in the General Assembly's recent session.

Our members are producers and good neighbors who care about the environment, animal well-being and being responsible business partners in North Carolina.

We have worked very hard to build an industry that has a major impact on our state's economy, producing almost $7 billion in annual sales, more than $2 billion in annual income and more than 46,000 full-time jobs. That's more full-time jobs than the entire Research Triangle Park provides.

This important legislation was designed to ensure that North Carolina's pork producers continue to have the means to support their families and provide good jobs. Much has been said and written about House Bill 822, but in reality the bill would have accomplished three fairly simple but very important things to help producers maintain what they have worked so hard to build:

Allow producers to rebuild in the same location if their operations are destroyed by fire or other acts of God.

Allow producers to enhance their animal welfare practices by expanding barns to provide more room for pregnant pigs.

Let producers make reasonable changes to their barns to allow them to respond to market changes and stay in business.

It is important to note that these proposed changes would not result in any buildings being closer to the nearest property boundary than today, nor would these changes move any hog lagoons or make them larger.

We look forward to working with the General Assembly next year to accomplish these worthy goals on behalf of our members.

For The Record offers commentaries from various sources. The views are the writer's, and not necessarily those of the Observer editorial board.