OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Today, Gov. Stitt issued an amendment to Executive Order 2020-13 to allow the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to assist with potential livestock processing facility disruptions.

As a result of COVID-19, the animal processing sector has seen severe disruptions in its workforce due to both positive cases and general absenteeism of workers. This disruption has led to the closing or slowing of production in many processing plants. Because production animals are ready just in time for processing and animals continue to move up the supply chain, this leaves producers with no choice but to depopulate.

The amendment allows ODAFF to assist in the following ways:

  • Depopulation of any animals unable to be processed at available processing facilities due to COVID-19.
  • Assist in the disposal of animal carcasses resulting from the depopulation in a manner that protects the environment, does not create a public health hazard, does not result in contamination of public or private drinking water supplies and ensures watersheds and groundwater are protected pursuant to 2 O.S. § 10-20(B).
  • Utilize all necessary equipment and manpower available and to freely move the equipment and manpower across state lines in cooperation with bordering states.
  • Cooperate with appropriate agencies, including but not limited to Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to ensure roadways are protected and all solid wastes are managed and disposed of appropriately.
  • Ensure ease of licensing, including the use of umbrella licensing, for vehicles utilized to move animal carcasses.

“Due to the uncertainty of this rapidly evolving situation, it is critical our agency is equipped to respond and assist our producers,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur. “This executive order allows us to ensure our land, water and air stays safe and provide producers with support during this challenging time.”

ODAFF also has a trained Incident Command Team on standby that is preparing for deployment and action, if needed.