HEAVENER –State Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) today announced a second Town Hall poultry meeting on the development of large industrial sized poultry farm concentration in the Cameron, Oklahoma, area has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Reynolds Center, 105 Reynolds Ave. in Poteau.
Kiger said the meeting is being called at the request of his constituents from District 3, due to eight large industrial sized poultry houses that were built approximately 1,350 feet northwest of the city limits of Cameron.
“These houses are already causing nuisance odors, air quality and health concerns to homeowners and the public school in close proximity,” Kiger said. “Eight more of the large houses were recently built on Red Barn Road southeast of the community. That is also adding to the odor and air quality problem for neighbors and the city.”
Kiger said, now, 40 additional industrial sized poultry houses are being planned for construction on Rabbit Road (24 houses) and east of Old 112 highway (16 houses) that will continue to add to odor, air quality, traffic problems and housing values being reduced.
This brings the total of new industrial sized poultry houses built or planned to be built to 56, with an additional 15 to 20 existing poultry houses already established by small family farm growers already located in the 2.5 mile radius of the city of Cameron and the Castle Estates housing addition. All together this will put approximately 75 poultry houses positioned around these communities, with odor and dust due to normal prevailing wind directions blowing toward the communities.
Community members and local legislators have made it clear that Leflore County strongly supports OK Foods and our poultry farmers. Both Rep. Kiger and Sen. Mark Allen have filed legislation to adjust the distances of poultry farms farther away from cities as well as additional environmental requirements related to air and water quality. These measures will be taken up when the legislative session beings in early February.
But the large concentration of this many large sized industrial poultry barns are just too many in such a small area and OK Foods should have considered the men, women and children in the path of these prevailing winds prior to providing approval for so many large farms in the area, Kiger said.
The goal of the Town Hall is to provide a voice from the people in Cameron and the county that have joined together as the "Cameron & Leflore County Citizens against Industrial Scale Poultry Production." This will allow them to make their case and voice concerns of the affects that this large concentration of industrial sized poultry houses will have on their communities with odor and air quality concerns on the health of those already having respiratory problems. There also will be additional large truck traffic that will damage and help deteriorate existing roads, Kiger said.
The group has met with county commissioners, making the request for the district attorney to review what laws are on the books that the county can use to help provide some relief for citizens from so many houses being built in one concentrated area. Commissioners are also scheduled to meet with OK Foods to discuss any possible relief or adjustments of the large concentration.
This meeting will not bash poultry growers as our county strongly supports the industry, Kiger said. But we will lay out the affects that the nearly 75 houses will have on everyone and more importantly announce the next steps the group will take within the next two weeks in trying to stop the construction and concentration of the remaining 40 large houses.
The Town Hall is open to the public and will be streamed live from different media groups that have been following this development, Kiger said.