Positive Steps for North Carolina Deer & Elk Farmers
August 6, 2014
Legislature Approves Rules to Expand Cervid Industry
Last week, leaders of the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives negotiated differences between their budget bills, which contained language that would offer common sense reform for cervid farmers. Included in the bill was language to transfer regulatory control of farmed deer and elk to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, rather than the state’s wildlife commission. Farmed deer and elk are commonly regulated by agriculture departments across the nation including the federal level with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The North Carolina Deer Farmers Association, along with several other cervid associations, advocated for the change since the agriculture department most efficiently addresses the needs of their industry. The North Carolina Wildlife Commission opposed the transfer. After weeks of deliberation, legislative leaders agreed on a compromise to allow oversight from the Wildlife Commission but imposed several requirements on the commission. Language was included to ensure the Wildlife Commission use the USDA cervid regulations as its guide and not impose any requirements that exceed the USDA rules. The Wildlife Commission now must issue permits to new deer and elk farmers and the ability to construct or expand their facilities.
In addition, there were positive changes made for commerce for cervid producers. Producers will be able to sell their deer and elk to other producers within the state and able to sell deer and elk products out of the state. These products include mounts, hard antler, velvet antler, and deer urine for hunters.
The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law in the near future. The legislation marks significant progress for the North Carolina Deer & Elk Farmers Association and cervid producers in the Coastal South.