American Cervid Alliance

Missouri Deer Farmers Work to Educate Legislators for Final Push in Support

May 10, 2014

 HB 2031 Saves Deer Farmers'  Businesses & Family Income

COLUMBIA, MO- Deer farmers across Missouri have spent the last several weeks in the state capital of Jefferson City explaining to legislators what is at stake for their livelihoods.  The Missouri House of Representatives is considering House Bill 2031, which would move deer farming oversight under the Missouri Department of Agriculture, rather than the Department of Conservation.      

These deer farmers, led by the Missouri Whitetail Deer Breeders & Hunting Ranch Association, have worked to explain why it is necessary for the legislation to be passed and signed into law. Last month, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) adopted proposals to bring unprecedented regulations to the state's deer farmers never seen in any state in the history of cervid farming.  The MDC's proposals include closing the state's borders, double ten foot fences, testing of all moralities over the ages of six months, detailed records of burials, and crippling barriers for next generation owners and out of state partnerships, among others.       

"We've never even heard of changes or policy like this," said Sam James, president of the Missouri Whitetail Deer Breeders & Hunting Ranch Association.       

If passed, HB 2031, would classify farmed deer as livestock and thereby moved beyond the Department of Conservation's jurisdiction.  A near identical bill in the Missouri Senate has already passed 23-9.

Another board member, Kurt Humphrey, said the proposed regulations allow farmers to show what is at stake.  "These regulations will destroy our farms one by one. We have families and sole incomes at stake here.  This is serious." Humphrey, a second generation deer farmer, has joined James and other deer farmers at the Statehouse.       

Last month, animal health experts flew to Jefferson City to help explain the lack of merit of MDC's proposals.

James noted, "Why would a committee made up of wildlife people and not one veterinarian or health expert make up rules concerning disease management which they know nothing about? And then try to impose them on an entire industry?"

James continued, "We are praying common sense will prevail.  Our families depend on it."

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