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August 5, 2021

Annual state farm bill nears final approval by lawmakers

RALEIGH (AP) — The North Carolina legislature neared final approval on Thursday of its annual farm bill, which includes the creation of a streamlined method for hog farms to receive environment permits to convert liquid waste into consumer natural gas.

The House voted 75-32 in favor of the measure, which makes changes in more than a dozen categories related to agriculture. It now returns to the Senate, which approved a similar version last month.

“This bill is a common-sense approach to maintaining a safe, economical sustainable supply of food,” Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Duplin County Republican, said during floor debate.

The provision receiving the most discussion involved the proposed “general permit” that the Department of Environmental Quality would issue for animal farm operations that allow the owner to construct and operate a farm digester system in which methane gas trapped in lagoons is converted to biogas.

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