NORTH CAROLINA FARM ACT OF 2015.

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 513 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 25, 2015
AN ACT TO PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL REFORMS AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES.
Intro. by Brock, B. Jackson.

Status: Ch. SL 2015-263 (Senate Action) (Sep 30 2015)

SOG comments (1):

Long Title Change

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes changes to the long title. The original titles was as follows:

AN ACT TO (1) REVISE THE HORSE INDUSTRY PROMOTION ACT TO INCREASE CAPS ON DURATION AND AMOUNT OF AN ASSESSMENT; (2) EXEMPT COMPENSATION PAID TO AN H-2A AGRICULTURAL WORKER FROM STATE INCOME TAX WITHHOLDING TO THE EXTENT THE COMPENSATION IS EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL INCOME TAX WITHHOLDING; (3) ESTABLISH A POLICY OF SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN THE STATE; (4) MODIFY OVERSIZE VEHICLE PERMIT TIME RESTRICTIONS; (5) ALLOW OVERSIZE TRANSPORTATION OF HAY BALES; (6) AMEND RIGHT-OF-CENTER REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN AGRICULTURAL VEHICLES; (7) INCREASE THE PERMISSIBLE SPEED LIMIT FOR AGRICULTURAL SPREADER VEHICLES THAT ARE EXEMPT FROM REGISTRATION AND CERTIFICATE OF TITLE; (8) ESTABLISH MARKING AND NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR METEOROLOGICAL TOWERS; (9) ALLOW SHELLFISH CULTIVATION LEASES IN AREAS CONTAINING SUBMERGED AQUATIC VEGETATION; (10) MODIFY THE PRESENT USE VALUE PROGRAM; (11) ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE FOR THE TERMINATION OF CONSERVATION AGREEMENTS; (12) TRANSFER THE WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION CAPTIVE CERVID PROGRAM TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES; (13) PROHIBIT THE IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL STANDARDS FOR WOOD HEATERS AND ENFORCEMENT OF AIR EMISSIONS STANDARDS THAT WOULD LIMIT FUEL SOURCES PROVIDING HEAT OR HOT WATER TO A RESIDENCE OR BUSINESS; (14) MODIFY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS; (15) MODIFY THE PRESCRIBED BURNING ACT; (16) MODIFY THE PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO GUARD A FIRE BY WATCHMAN; (17) LIMIT THE PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES MAY DISCLOSE ABOUT ITS ANIMAL HEALTH PROGRAMS; AND (18) MAKE VARIOUS TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.

Bill History:

S 513/S.L. 2015-263

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Oct 6 2015 - More information

    AN ACT TO PROVIDE REGULATORY RELIEF TO THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY OF NORTH CAROLINA BY PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL REFORMS AND BY MAKING VARIOUS OTHER STATUTORY CHANGES. Enacted September 30, 2015. Effective September 30, 2015, except as otherwise provided.


  • Summary date: Sep 28 2015 - More information

    Conference report makes the following changes to the 7th edition.

    Enacts new GS 106-26.3, establishing that it is policy of state of North Carolina to support and promote sound science in agriculture. Defines sound science in agriculture for the purposes of this section. Declares that it is in the interest of the people of the State to use sound science in agriculture to meet the needs of the present and to improve future generations' ability to meet their own needs, while advancing progress toward environmental and economic goals and the well-being of agricultural producers and rural communities. 

    Deletes Section 14 which prohibited the importation of cervids.

    Adds back in Section 14 from the 6th edition, concerning the transfer of the captive cervid program to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The provision is identical to the 6th edition, with the following exceptions. Amends the definition of farmed cervid in GS 106-549.97 by providing that any animal registered or tagged in any licensed captive cervid facility existing within the State as of July 1, 2015 (was, October 1, 2015), is deemed to be a farmed cervid. Deletes the provision which required the Codifier of Rules to retain all temporary amendments in effect for specified rules until they are replaced by permanent rules. Amends GS 113-272.6 by adding that the Wildlife Resources Commission must follow the USDA Standards as defined in GS 106-549.97 and the provisions in set forth in 9 CFR Part 55 and 9 CFR. Part 81 in the implementation of this statute and must not adopt any rule or standard that is in conflict with, in lieu of, or more restrictive than the USDA Standards.

    Deletes all of Section 15, which contained proposed changes to GS 106-950 concerning burning of agricultural plastics. Makes conforming changes. 

    Deletes all of Section 22, which contained language concerning the American Eel Aquaculture Plan pilot project.

    Deletes all of Section 28, which established farm winery permits and included changes made to GS 18B-902(d), 18B-1001, 18B-1100, 18B-1103A, 18B-1112, 18B-1114.1, and 18B-1201. Makes conforming changes.


  • Summary date: Sep 24 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 6th edition. 

    Deletes amendments to GS 106-2.3, which established policy supporting sustainable agriculture. 

    Adjusts the amendment to GS 20-118(c)(12) to expand an exception to road weight limitations for agriculture, dairy, and crop products to include products traveling from a holding facility (was, from a farm only) and those traveling to a feed mill (was, to a processing plant or market only). 

    Amends proposed GS 121-39A to remove the word "substantial" from its title and body and to make other changes, as follows. Includes new subsection (a) stating that easements secured by the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund or any secured with federal funds where at least one party to the agreement is a public body of the State may not be modified or terminated for the purposes of economic development. Changes the conditions for modification or termination of a conservation agreement where at least one party to the agreement is a public body of the State to require a conservation benefit analysis and to allow modification or termination only if the analysis concludes that it results in a greater benefit to conservation. Requires the analysis to be reported to the Council of State before the Council votes on the final decision to modify the agreement.

    Removes proposed GS 106-549.97, which relates to the transfer of the captive cervid program to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Adjusts the amendments to GS 113-272.6 and removes the authority of the Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) to regulate importation of cervids and prohibits importation altogether. Removes references to hunt facilities as defined by USDA Standards and a definition of non-farmed cervid. Makes the sale of antlers, antler velvet, or hides from captive cervids by the Wildlife Resources Commission permissive instead of required. Retains the authority of the Commission to adopt rules for fencing, tagging, record keeping, and inspection of captive cervid facilities and to issue captivity permits. No longer deletes GS 106-549.98 concerning the inspection fees for facilities that perform slaughtering, rendering or similar services.

    Deletes amendments to GS 62-133.8(e), which governs out-of-state swine waste. 

    Moves an amendment to GS 143-215.94B (concerning the Commercial Leaking Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund) from GS 143-215.94D (concerning the Noncommercial Leaking Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund) pertaining to claims for third-party damage from noncommercial underground storage tanks.

    Removes sections that established a Renewable Energy Economic Development Study Committee. 

    Includes a new section to allow alternative forms of documentation for participation in certain agricultural cost-share programs. Amends GS 106-850(b)(10) and GS 139-60(c1) to replace documentation requirements with a requirement that the applicant meets the definition of a bona fide farm in GS 153A-340(b)(2). 

    Makes technical changes. 


  • Summary date: Sep 23 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 5th edition.

    Amends GS 106-26.3, deleting language that provided that advancing social goals was part of the reason for supporting and promoting sustainable agriculture. 

    Amends the effective date for proposed changes to GS 20-118(c)(12), concerning specified road weight limitation exceptions for vehicles, providing that the changes now become effective October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015).

    Amends GS 113-202(b), concerning shellfish cultivation leases, making clarifying changes and providing that the proposed changes become effective October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015). 

    Amends proposed GS 121-39A, concerning the termination of conservation agreements, to provide that for conservation agreements where at least one party to the agreement is a public body of the state, no request for termination or substantial modification will be approved for the purposes of economic development (previously, termination or modification was not approved when conservation agreements were subject to the approval of the Council of State for termination or substantial modification). Effective when the act becomes law, applying to conservation agreements that are executed on or after that date. 

    Deletes proposed changes to GS 106-744(b), concerning agricultural conservation easements, which deleted language that provided an exception to the perpetual duration of an agricultural conservation easement after at least 20 years. Now amends GS 106-744(c1) to require the Commissioner of Agriculture to distribute funds from the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements or agreements to be held by the department. Makes all of Section 13 effective when it becomes law (was, July 1, 2015).

    Amends GS 106-549.97 concerning regulations regarding farmed cervids, amending the definition of farmed cervid to include an animal registered or tagged in a licensed captive cervid facility existing as of October 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015). Directs the Codifier of Rules to retain specified amendments in effect until such can be replaced by permanent rules adopted by the Department of Agriculture. 

    Amends GS 113-272.6, which authorizes the Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) to regulate the possession and transportation of non-farmed cervids, deleting language that required the commission to follow the USDA Standards as defined in GS 106-549.97 and additional provisions set out in federal regulations, and prohibited the Commission from adopting any rule or standard that was more restrictive than the USDA Standards. 

    Adds an effective date for proposed changes to GS 106-950 concerning fires that are exempt from open fire regulations, providing that changes are effective January 1, 2015. 

    Amends GS 62-133.8, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), specifically subsection (e) concerning meeting the REPS requirement though the use of swine waste resources, to restrict electric public utilities with more than 150,000 NC retail jurisdictional customers as of December 31, 2006, from meeting more than 25% of the annual REPS requirement by both (1) purchasing renewable energy certificates from out-of-state new renewable energy facilities and (2) generating electric power from swine waste derived biogas produced out of state. Sets out aggregate amounts of swine waste resources to be used by electric power suppliers beginning in 2018 at 0.07% and culminating in 2024 at 0.20% (was, beginning in 2012 and culminating in 2018). Provides that the NC Utilities Commission can continue to use its authority to modify or delay the above provisions if it is determined it is in the public interest to do so. 

    Amends the "Odor Control of Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Plants Rule" found in 15A NCAC 02D .0539 to provide that raw material will be considered in storage after it has been unloaded or located at a facility for at least 36 hours. Also sets out new regulations concerning timelines for unloading vehicles or containers holding raw material such as feathers with trace amounts of blood and used cooking oil. Requires the Environmental Management Commission to enact the temporary rules until permanent rules substantially similar to these provisions can be adopted.

    Amends GS 113A-52.01, concerning the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act, adding language that exempts specified wetlands restoration activities undertaken to provide compensatory mitigation for the offset of impacts permitted under the Clean Water Act. Also exempts specified wetlands restoration activities undertaken pursuant to the Natural Resources Conservation Service standards.

    Amends GS 143-215.94V(e) concerning reimbursement or payment of costs associated with the cleanup and assessment of underground storage tanks, adding language providing requirements to be eligible for reimbursement of damages arising from a third-party claim for bodily injury or property awarded in a final adjudicated judgment, providing that an owner or operator must (1) notify the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of any such claim; (2) provide DENR with all related documents and pleadings of any filed lawsuit; and (3) provide DENR with copies of all specified reports, including medical reports and statements and investigative reports necessary to determine if such a claim is reasonable and necessary. Sets out limitations for damages arising from a third-party claim for bodily injury or property awarded pursuant to a finally adjudicated judgment. 
     
    Amends GS 143-215.94A, adding and defining the following new terms: third party, third-party bodily injury or bodily injury, and third-party property damage or property damage for use in GS Chapter 143, Article 21A, Oil Pollution and Hazardous Substances Control, Part 2A and 2B.
     
    Amends GS 143-215.94B and GS 143-215.94D concerning claims for funds from the Commercial and Noncommercial Leaking Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Funds, providing that any claims for third-party property damage must be based on the rental costs of comparable property during the period of loss of use up to an amount equal to the fair market value. Also provides that in regards to property destroyed as a result of a petroleum release, reimbursement will be at an amount necessary to replace or repair the destroyed property.
     
    Establishes the Renewable Energy Economic Development Study Committee (Committee) and requires a final report to the 2016 General Assembly when it convenes in May 2016. Requires that the 17-member Committee include the executive director of the Public Staff of the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission and eight members with experience in renewable energy appointed by each of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The duties of the committee include identifying costs and benefits of current policies related to renewable energy and recommending changes to those policies, including to the state renewable energy portfolio standard, if needed.

    Allows persons interested in participating in the pilot American Eel Aquaculture Plan to submit required information until November 1, 2015 (was, September 1).

    Adjusts the amendments to GS 18B-902(d) and 18B-1001, setting fees and providing for Alcoholic Beverage Control permits, to (1) set the cost of an on-premises unfortified wine permit at $100 if the application is for a farm winery (was, $400 for all on-premises unfortified wine permits) and (2) eliminate the separate category for “farm winery on-premises unfortified wine permit.”  Adds a sentence to GS 18B-1103A clarifying that a winery with both a farm winery permit and an unfortified winery permit may not sell wine for on- or off-premises consumption at more than three other locations.

    Adds new amendments to GS 143-449 (pesticide dealers), GS 143-453 (pesticide applicators), and GS 143-455 (pest control consultants) clarifying the authority of the Pesticide Board, as part of its re-licensing powers, to require continuing certification credits.

    Adds a sentence to GS 143B-437.020 stating that a project intended for the purpose of commercial resale of natural gas or propane gas is not eligible for the Expanded Gas Products Service to Agriculture Fund.

    Amends GS 106-140.1 to allow the DACS to register outsourcing facilities, defined as manufacturers engaged in compounding sterile drugs and registered as such with the Food and Drug Administration.

    Creates two exemptions during times when the State Veterinarian, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and with the approval of the Governor, determines that there is an imminent threat of a contagious animal disease. First, the committee substitute amends GS 106-399.4(a) to allow emergency measures relating to composting dead domesticated animals without individual permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Second, creates new subsection GS 143-215.10C to allow the State Veterinarian to temporarily suspend periodic testing of waste products, as required by that section, from specific animal types.

    Amends GS 143-138(b4) to include in the definition of farm building, for purposes of exclusion from certain building rules, any unoccupied structure on land owned by the state of North Carolina and administratively allocated to DACS or North Carolina State University and used primarily for forestry or agriculture production and research. Makes organizational changes.

    Makes clarifying changes to GS 113-136(k) regarding the authority of law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons, equipment, fish, or wildlife. Makes it unlawful to refuse to allow law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect weapons or equipment if the enforcement official reasonably believes the items are possessed incident to an activity that is regulated by law or has a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed. Provides an exception permitting an officer to inspect a shotgun without a reasonable suspicion that a violation has been committed in order to confirm whether the shotgun is plugged or unplugged.  Clarifies that it is unlawful to refuse to permit law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect fish or wildlife for the purpose of determining compliance with bag limits and size limits. Specifies that except as authorized by GS 113-137, this section does not confer authority on law enforcement officers, protectors, and inspectors to inspect the following items in the absences of an individual in apparent control of the item to be inspected: (1) weapons; (2) equipment, except that left unattended in the normal operation of equipment, including but not limited to traps, trot lines, crab pots, and fox pens; (3) fish; and (4) wildlife. Requires the Wildlife Resources Commission to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety annually, beginning with a report due on March 1, 2016, on complaints against Commission law enforcement officers.

    Replaces the Department of Environmental Quality with the DACS in GS 14-137, pertaining to willful and negligent setting fire to woods and fields. 


  • Summary date: Jun 10 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition.

    Deletes proposed changes made to GS 106-737.1, Revocation of conservation agreement, and GS 106-743.2, Conservation agreements for farmland in enhanced voluntary agricultural districts; limitation.

    Amends GS 106-950 concerning fires that are exempt from open fire regulations, setting out five specific criteria for when the burning of polyethylene agricultural plastic is allowed, including allowing the burning when it does not violate any State or federal ambient air quality standards and is conducted between an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset (previously, exempted the burning of polyethylene agricultural plastic used in connection with specified agricultural operations when conducted as quickly as possible and in a way that minimizes total emissions from the Article and air permit requirements). Allows the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section.

    Amends the provisions for the American Eel Aquaculture Plan pilot project, providing that the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Marine Fisheries Commission cannot issue permits for the harvest and aquaculture of the glass eel stage of American eels in the State until the pilot project has been approved (previously, required the Division and the Marine Fisheries Commission to issue permits for the harvest and aquaculture of American Eels in North Carolina if the pilot program has not been approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission by January 1, 2016). 

    Amends GS 18B-1103A, concerning farm winery permits, adding provisions that allow a winery that produces at least 10,000 gallons of wine per year from honey, grapes, or other fruit or grain grown in NC to be eligible for a farm winery permit. Also adds additional language that prevents such wineries from losing their permits in certain situations and events if they fail to produce 10,000 gallons. Provides that farm wineries cannot exceed the amount of out-of-state grown grapes or juice authorized.

    Amends GS 69-25.5, Methods of providing fire protection, making conforming and technical changes reflecting the transfer of the NC Forest Service from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to SL 2011-145, Section 13.25.


  • Summary date: May 18 2015 - More information

    Senate amendments make the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Amendment #1

    Amends the provisions for the American Eel Aquaculture Plan pilot project to be developed by the Division of Marine Fisheries (Division) and the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), changing the deadline for individuals interested in participating to submit required information to September 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015). Adds provisions that require the Division and the Marine Fisheries Commission to issue permits for the harvest and aquaculture of American Eels in North Carolina if the pilot program has not been approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission by January 1, 2016. Sets out allowances and requirements for the permits. Directs the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt rules to implement these provisions. 

    Amendment #2

    Adds new subsection (a5) to proposed provisions of GS 106-549.97 concerning regulations for farmed cervids allowing the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) and the WRC to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that authorizes joint enforcement activities. Provides that the MOA can allow the WRC to perform enforcement activities on captive cervid facilities in instances of illegal importation or when deemed appropriate by the Department. 


  • Summary date: May 14 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Makes the changes to GS 105-163.3(b) (provides exemptions to the withholding requirement) effective January 1, 2015 (was, July 1, 2015).

    Amends GS 20-171.22 to permit a person to operate all-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles on a public road while engaged in farming operations (was, amended GS 20-51 to provide an exemption from registration for all-terrain vehicles or utility vehicles when used for agricultural purposes).

    Adds a new section requiring the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources Commission to develop a pilot American Eel Aquaculture Plan for the harvest and aquaculture of American eels. Sets out four conditions that must be included in the pilot, including allowing for a maximum harvest of 200 pounds of the glass eel stage and submitting the pilot for approval by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission). Requires every effort to be made to have the pilot approved by the Commission to be implemented during 2016. Requires persons interested in participating in the pilto to submit required information by July 1, 2015.

    Amends GS 18B-1103A, as enacted in this act, to provide that an authorized farm winery, with an appropriate permit under GS 18B-1001, may sell the wine it manufactures at no more than three (was, six) other locations in the state for on-premises or off-premises consumption.

    Amends GS 106-24.1 to provide that all information generated by any federal agency (was, USDA-generated information) that is confidential is to be held confidential by the Department of Agriculture and its employees.

    Deletes all of Section 16, enacting new GS 143-215.10U, which provided that no certified energy-producing animal operation was to become a private or public nuisance for odor in or about the locality outside of the operation.


  • Summary date: May 12 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Amends the long title. 

    Amends the section concerning oversize vehicle permits pursuant to 19A NCAC 02D .0607, making technical and clarifying changes. 

    Deletes proposed changes made to GS 20-119(g) concerning the permitting of overwidth vehicles carrying baled hay. Amends GS 20-116 to provide that the DOT must issue annual overwidth permits for vehicles, no wider than 12 feet, carrying baled hay from place to place on the same farm, from one farm to another, or from farm to market or vice versa. Provides that vehicles that exceed 10 feet in width must (1) be operated during daylight hours only and (2) must display a red flag or flashing warning lights on both the rear and front end of the vehicle as specified. 

    Amends GS 20-146 concerning the operation of vehicles on the right side of highways, adding subsection (a1) that provides that self-propelled grain combines or other self-propelled farm equipment must be operated to the right of center line except as provided for in GS 20-116(j)(4).

    Amends the definition of an agricultural spreader vehicle found in GS 20-51, providing that it is a vehicle designed for off-highway use to spread feed, fertilizer, seed, lime, or other agricultural products (previously, off-highway vehicle used to spread fertilizer, seed, lime, or other agricultural products on a field). Adds language exempting all-terrain vehicles or utility vehicles from registration and titling requirements when used for agricultural purposes.

    Amends GS 20-118(c)(12) concerning specified road weight limitation exceptions for vehicles,  providing that the limitations as specified do not apply to certain vehicles that transport within 150 miles of the point of origination agriculture, dairy, and crop products from a farm to a processing plant or market (was, agriculture and crop products) or feed or feed ingredients (was, feed only) from a storage or holding facility to a farm or mill. Also provides that the exception for vehicles carrying water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, or animal waste from a farm does not require that the above items be transported in a farm vehicle defined as specified. Effective July 1, 2015.

    Amends proposed GS Chapter 63, Article 11, Marking and Notice of Meteorological Towers, making technical changes and providing that the required database containing location information about meteorological towers must be established and maintained by January 1, 2017 (was, January 1, 2016) and be made available on the Department of Transportation's website. Deletes provision which exempted towers constructed prior to the effective date of the Article. Amends the definition of height in GS 63-110.

    Amends GS 105-277.2, concerning definitions for agriculture, horticulture, and forestland, deleting language from the definition for individually owned which provided for a rebuttal of the presumption that a principal business of an applicant is farming agricultural land, horticultural land, or forestland. Instead allows the presumption to be rebutted but provides that it has no bearing on the determination of whether the land meets one of the classes. If the presumption is rebutted, it does not invalidate the determination that the principal business is the specified type of land in the other county.

    Amends the effective date for the proposed changes to in Section 11 of the bill concerning present use value modifications, making a clarifying change and providing that except as specified the remainder of Section 11 (amending GS 103-277.4) is effective when it becomes law. 

    Amends the catchline of proposed GS 121-39A, concerning the termination of a conservation agreement to Termination or substantial modification of agreements (was, Termination of agreements). 

    Amends GS 106-737.1, Revocation of conservation agreement, providing that a conservation agreement between private parties can be revoked by written notice to the county and adds a provisions providing that conservation agreements where at least one party is a public body of NC can be revoked in accordance with the procedure set forth in GS 121-39A.

    Amends GS 106-743.2, concerning conservation agreements for farmland, adding a provision providing that a notice of termination of a conservation agreement pursuant to this section will not trigger the procedure set forth in GS 121-39A.

    Amends GS 106-744 concerning agricultural conservation easements, deleting language which provided an exception to the perpetual duration of an agricultural conservation easement after at least 20 years. 

    Amends the effective date for Section 12 of the bill, providing that proposed GS 121-39A(c) is effective July 1, 2015, applying to conservation agreements executed on or after that date, with the remainder of the section becoming effective July 1, 2015, applying to agreements in effect on that date and executed on or after that date. 

    Amends GS 106-549.97 concerning regulations regarding farmed cervids, making clarifying changes. Also provide that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can issue new captivity licenses or permits for farmed cervid facilities only if Chronic Wasting Disease-susceptible source animals are from a certified herd from an existing licensed facility. Adds that until the USDA has adopted an approved method of testing for Chronic Wasting Disease in living cervids, no cervids susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease can be imported into North Carolina.

    Deletes Section 13 (concerning the enforcement of certain air quality standards) and Section 15(a) (concerning modifications to the burning act) from the bill.

    Amends GS 106-950 concerning fires that are exempt from open fire regulations, providing that the regulations do not apply and no air quality permit can be required under specified conditions. Adds to the exemptions the burning of polyethylene agricultural plastic used in connection with specified agricultural operations when conducted as quickly as possible and in a way that minimizes total emissions. 

    Amends Section 21 of SL 2013-413 no longer requiring that the term new animal waste management include a system serving a feedlot that has been abandoned or unused for a period of four years or more and is then put back into service. Requires the Environmental Management Commission to revise its permanent rule on Swine Waste Management System Performance Standards so that it applies to any farm that received a permit for its animal waste management system that allows a level of production at the farm greater than the largest production for which the farm has received a permit in the past and so that they also apply to any other animal waste management system otherwise subject to regulation under GS 143-215.10I. Sets out eight conditions providing that when all the conditions are met the facility is exempt from the Swine Waste Management System Performance Standards, including that the system depopulated after January 1, 2005, and ceased operation no longer than 10 years prior to the current date and that the system was in compliance with individual or general permits issued under GS 143-215.10C prior to the time the system ceased operation. 

    Enacts new GS 143-215.10U, Use of animal waste for energy production; nuisance, providing that animal waste management systems can be certified as an energy-producing animal operation if it meets four specified criteria including that it is an animal operation or dry litter poultry facility subject to a permit under GS 143-215.10C for the operation of an animal waste management system and that it is a renewable energy facility that generates energy through the use of swine or poultry waste as specified. Exempts certified energy-producing animal operations from being considered a nuisance in regards to the odor. Effective December 1, 2015. Directs the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) to adopt rules for the establishment of a certification program to implement the statute. Requires the EMC to revise their rules to prohibit determining an odor to be objectionable from a certified energy-producing animal operation.

    Amends GS 74-49 concerning the definition of mining in regards to agricultural activities, making technical and organizational changes. Also add, for the purposes of this Article, that mining means the excavation or grading when solely conducted for activities on agricultural land that are exempt from the requirements of GS Chapter 113A, Article 4. 

    Amends GS 68-20 concerning the holding and advertising period for unclaimed livestock, impounded for running at large, providing that if the owner does not redeem the livestock within the timeframe specified, then the impounder must notify the sheriff's office and the sheriff must then post a notice and description of the livestock, stating the place, date, and hour of sale on the sheriff's department website. After 10 days from that posting, the impounder must sell the livestock at public auction.  If the owner of livestock remains unknown, then three days after the publication of the notice required by GS 68-18.1, the impounder must notify the sheriff's office and the sheriff must then post a notice and description of the livestock, stating the place, date, and hour of sale on the sheriff's department website. After 10 days from such posting the impounder must sell the livestock at public auction.

    Amends GS 106-968, concerning prescribed burning making clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 18B-902(d) concerning ABC permits, establishing a farm winery permit for $150 and a farm winery on-premises unfortified wine permit for $100. Amends GS 18B-1001, adding and defining the Farm winery on-premises unfortified wine permit to the list of current of allowable ABC permits. Amends GS 18B-1100, concerning commercial permits, adding the farm winery permit to the list of commercial permits. Enacts GS 18B-1103A, Authorization of farm winery permit, providing that wineries that produce at least 75% of their wine from honey, grapes, or other fruit or grain grown in NC can obtain a farm winery permit. Includes provisions which allow the Commissioner of Agriculture to authorize the manufacturing of wine produced from grapes grown outside of NC in certain specified circumstances. Sets out a list of 10 authorized acts that a holder of a farm winery permit is permitted to do. Amends GS 18B-1112, Authorization of vendor representative permit; 18B-1114.1, Authorization of winery special event permit; and 18B-1201, definitions for the Article concerning wine distribution agreements, making conforming changes adding the farm winery permit to those provisions. Effective July 1, 2016. 

    Directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to study ways to promote NC farm wineries, with a report on its findings to be submitted to the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission no later than February 1, 2016. Effective when the bill becomes law. 

    Amends GS 106-24.1 making clarifying changes to provide that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services cannot disclose USDA-generated information received that is confidential under federal law (previously stated that all information received pursuant to the specified provisions must be held in confidence by the Department). 


  • Summary date: Mar 27 2015 - More information

    Section 1

    Amends GS 106-823(f), concerning the North Carolina Horse Council's authority to levy an assessment on a horse owner, when approved by referendum among horse owners, providing that the North Carolina Horse Council first determines the amount of the proposed assessment, not to exceed $4 (was, $2 per ton of horse feed). Further provides that the period for the assessment can not exceed 10 years (was, three years).

    Section 2

    Amends GS 105-163.3(b) concerning a requirement that employers must withhold state income taxes from wages paid to nonresident contractors or ITIN contractors, adding new language which exempts compensation paid to an alien, described as in 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(h)(ii)(a), from the withholding requirement to the extent that it is not subject to federal income tax withholding.

    Section 3

    Enacts new GS 106-26.3, establishing that it is policy of state of North Carolina to support and promote sustainable agriculture. Defines sustainable agriculture for the purposes of this section. 

    Section 4

    Provides for the implementation of rules for the Department of Transportation (DOT) concerning the prohibited movement of permitted oversize vehicles, providing that movement must be made between sunrise and sunset Monday through Sunday, with a specified exception for 16 foot-wide mobile or modular homes. Also provides a rule for movement of a permitted oversize vehicle, prohibiting travel during specified hours surrounding the Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day holidays. Provides that these temporary rules are to be enacted until the DOT can enact permanent rules that substantively mirror the temporary rules, at which time the temporary rules will expire. 

    Section 5

    Enacts new GS 20-119(g)(1a), which provides that the DOT must issue annual overwidth permits for vehicles, no wider than 12 feet, carrying baled hay from place to place on the same farm, from one farm to another, or from farm to market or vice versa. Specifies the limitations of the permit. 

    Section 6 

    Amends GS 20-116(j), conditions for certain farm equipment to be operated on any highway, providing that it must operate to the right of the center line of the road/highway unless the combined width of the traveling lane and the accessible shoulder is less than the width of the equipment (previously, was required to operate right of center when meeting traffic coming from the opposite direction and at all other times when possible and practical). 

    Section 7

    Amends GS 20-51(16), provisions for spreaders to operate on a highway while exempt from registration and certificate of title requirements, providing, in addition to other requirements, that they cannot exceed a speed of 45 miles per hour (was, 35).

    Section 8

    Enacts new GS Chapter 63, Article 11, Marking and Notice of Meteorological Towers, setting out terms and definitions for use in the Article, including height and meteorological tower. Requires the marking and painting of any meteorological tower exceeding 50 feet in height. Also provides that towers must be constructed in a way to be visible in clear air during daylight hours from a distance of at least 2,000 feet. Sets out additional requirements for the construction and maintenance of meteorological towers. 

    Directs the DOT to adopt rules requiring individuals proposing to construct a tower to register with the DOT. Sets out registration requirements, including a registration fee of $350. Also requires notification to the DOT upon removal or destruction of a tower. Directs the DOT to establish and maintain a database containing the location of all the towers in North Carolina by January 1, 2016. Provides for civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per violation of the Article. Exempts towers constructed prior to the effective date of the Article from complying with the above provisions. Effective January 1, 2017, applying to meteorological towers erected on or after that date.

    Section 9

    Amends GS 113-202(b), concerning shellfish cultivation leases, providing that the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must not exclude any area from leasing solely because the area contains submerged aquatic vegetation. Also requires DENR to make specific finds based on standards provided in GS 113-202(a) before reaching a decision not to grant or renew a lease for shellfish cultivation for any area containing submerged aquatic vegetation. Effective July 1, 2015, applying to any new shellfish cultivation leases or renewals of existing shellfish leases issued on or after that date.

    Section 10

    Amends GS 105-277.2 concerning definitions for agriculture, horticulture, and forestland, providing that for the purposes of the definition for agricultural land, the commercial production or growing of animals includes the rearing, feeding, training, caring, and managing of horses. Also amends the definition for the term individually owned, setting out presumptions for determining whether or not a principal business is farming agricultural land, horticultural land, or forestland. Also provides for a rebuttal of the presumption. Effective July 1, 2015, applying to taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after that date. 

    Enacts new GS 105-277.4(f) concerning the appraisal of at use value of agricultural and horticultural land, and forestland, providing that the Department of Revenue must publish a present-use value program guide annually and make it available on the Department's website. Requires assessors to adhere to the Department of Revenue's present-use value program guide when making decisions regarding the qualifications or appraisals of the specified property above.

    Section 11

    Enacts new GS 121-39A, concerning the termination of a conservation agreement, setting out provisions for petitioning the Council of State for termination of the agreement based on grounds that the agreement is no longer capable of achieving the conservation purposes for which it was executed. Sets out requirements for the termination request.  Requires the Council of State to act on the request within 60 days of receipt. Sets out procedures for the approval of a termination request and provides that either party can appeal the decision in district court no later than the 45th day after notification of the request. Provides for taxes or penalties upon the termination of a conservation agreement. Provides that the above provisions apply to conservation agreements intended to be effective perpetually or that are terminated prior to the period of time stipulated in the agreement and to agreements where at least one party to the agreement is a public body of North Carolina. Effective July 1, 2015, applying to taxes imposed for taxable years beginning on or after that date. 

    Section 12

    Rewrites Article 49H of GS Chapter 106 as Production, Sale, and Transportation of Farmed Cervids (was, Production and Sale of Fallow Deer and Red Deer). Rewrites GS 106-549.97 to provide that Article 49H is about the regulation by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) of farmed cervids (members of the deer family) produced and sold for commercial purposes. Directs the Department to regulate the production, sale, possession, transportation, importation, and exportation of farmed cervids. Adds subsection (a2), which assigns sole authority for farmed cervids to the Department, including the administration of the NC Captive Cervid Herd Certification Program and directs the Department to allow the sale of farmed cervids, alive or dead, and whole or in part. Specifies that the Department is to follow specified USDA Standards in implementing Article 49H with regards to cervids that are susceptible to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Provides specifically regarding the adoption of rules by the Department to address captivity licenses for farmed cervids susceptible to CWD. Requires that all free-ranging cervids be removed from any new captive cervid facility before stocking the facility with farmed cervids. Prohibits hunting facilities as defined by USDA Standards on the premises of a licensed facility.

    Assigns the regulation of the possession, transportation, importation, and exportation of non-farmed cervids under authority of GS 113-272.6 to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission). Specifies that actions by the Department do not in any way limit the authority of the Commission to regulate non-farmed cervids, as state wildlife resources belong to the people of North Carolina as a whole. Provides that nothing in Article 49H authorizes the Department to regulate hunting or any activity related to hunting.

    Repeals subsection (c) of GS 106-549.97, which broadly defined the terms cervid and  cervidae as elk and deer, and defined farmed cervid and white-tailed deer. Adds new subsection (a1) defining the following terms as they apply in Article 49H: (1) Commission--the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; (2) Department--the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; (3) farmed cervid--any cervid, as defined by USDA Standards, susceptible to CWD, or not susceptible to CWD, that is held in captivity and produced, bought, or sold for commercial purposes; includes any cervid bred in captivity and continuously maintained within a herd that is enrolled in and complies with a USDA-approved Herd Certification Program; also includes any animal registered or tagged in any captive cervid facility existing within the state as of July 1, 2015; (4) non-farmed cervid--all animals in the family Cervidae other than farmed cervids; (5) USDA--the United States Department of Agriculture; and (6) USDA Standards—the USDA’s Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards, May 2014 edition, and subsequent updates.

    Further amends GS 106-549.97 to specify regulations regarding farmed cervids, including the transportation of live farmed cervids. Prohibits any unit of local government, including a county or municipality, from adopting any law that is not consistent with or is more restrictive than the provisions of Article 49H. Authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to assess a civil penalty of no more than $5,000 per animal against any person who violates a provision of Article 49H or any rule adopted under this Article. Deletes GS 106-549.98 regarding establishing inspection fees.

    Amends GS 113-272-6 to authorize the Commission to regulate the possession and transportation, including importation and exportation of non-farmed cervids, including game carcasses and parts of game carcasses removed by hunters or imported from hunting facilities as defined by USDA Standards. Assigns the same meaning of non-farmed cervid as in GS 106-549.97. Requires the Commission to follow the USDA Standards as defined in GS 106-549.97 and additional provisions set out in federal regulations, and prohibits the Commission from adopting any rule or standard that is more restrictive than the USDA Standards. Prohibits any action on the part of the Commission from limiting the authority of the Department to regulate farmed cervids. Makes additional conforming changes.

    Section 13

    Amends GS 143-215.107, regarding air quality standards and classifications, to prohibit the NC Environmental Management Commission (EMC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from implementing and enforcing federal standards limiting emissions from wood heaters and adopted after May 1, 2014, that would limit fuel resources providing heat or hot water to a residence or business. Amends GS 143-213 to add new subdivision (31) defining wood heater as the term applies in this section.

    Section 14

    Repeals GS 106-815 concerning dairy reporting and amends GS 19A-62(c) to modify the Department of Agriculture reporting requirements, moving the submission deadline for its annual report on the Spay/Neuter Account from February to March of each year.

    Section 15

    Amends GS 106-967 to make modifications and clarifying changes to the immunity from liability provisions under the Prescribed Burning Act. Amends GS 106-968 to make technical and clarifying changes to the provisions on prescribed burning. Provides that the North Carolina Forest Service may accept prescribed burner certification from another state or other entity for a prescribed burning under this Article.

    Section 16

    Amends GS 14-140.1 to make the penalty for failure to maintain a careful watchman in charge of a burning an infraction (was, a Class 3 misdemeanor) which may include a fine of no more than $50 (was, a fine of not less than $10).

    Section 17

    Amends GS 106-24.1 to limit the personal identification information that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may disclose about its animal health programs.

    Section 18

    Makes technical corrections to GS 14-137 and GS 143-166.13.

     Section 19

    Adds a severability clause to provide that if any provisions of the proposed act or its application are held to be invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications.


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