Liz McCormick Published

Thursday in the House: Deer Farming & Jobs


Senate Bill 237 was on the House Floor Thursday. The bill would create the Captive Cervid Farming Act, which would allow West Virginians to own farms to raise deer and elk. The bill would transfer regulation of these farms from the Division of Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture.

Delegate Brent Boggs of Braxton County opposed the bill, not because he opposed cervid farming, but to express concern with the switch of power over the law if passed.

“Department of Agriculture has wonderful facilities, they’ve got labs, they’ve got a state veterinarian, they have a lot of different things, but their expertise is not in wildlife,” said Boggs, “they do a wonderful job with livestock, with food safety, but their expertise is not wildlife, that’s where DNR comes in. Over the last few months, there’s a new DNR director, and I would like to have had the opportunity to see how a new director working in conjunction, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, how we could make this industry grow but still protect the concerns of the hunters, and the sportsman, and the sportswomen from around the state.”

Delegate Bill Anderson of Wood County supported the bill and spoke of the many farmers who would be able to use their land to be able to sell meat in the state.

“They would like to be able to sell some venison to the Greenbrier or to the Bavarian Inn in the Eastern Panhandle or to the Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, but right now they can’t. Oh no, that’s bad. And so those facilities and numerous others that might want to sell venison, they have to buy it from Pennsylvania or Ohio or New Zealand,” said Anderson.

Senate Bill 237 passed 88 to 12.

During the closing remarks in the House, Delegates stood as they do every Thursday to give a jobs report for the state. On Tuesday, the Governor made a big announcement  that a large Proctor & Gamble facility would be built in Berkeley County by 2017. The company expects to hire 1,000 construction workers and 700 permanent jobs. 

Delegate Marty Gearheart, a Republican from Mercer County stood to speak on this news.

“We have reports of some success attracting business here in West Virginia, success from my friends up in the Eastern Panhandle. We have a manufacturing plant that should bring great success and be part of a successful circumstance; Proctor & Gamble is moving to Berkeley County, and I’d applaud that. Timing though is interesting,” Gearheart noted, “and I would question whether or not that plant wants to locate here because of conditions from the past, even conditions today. I wonder whether or not what is being created and where our state is going in the future.”

Delegate Tim Miley of Harrison County dispelled Gearheart’s notion.

“Now I know my colleague is in sales, but if you fall for his line that this facility decided to come here because of the rosy picture from the November’s elections, then he would be a pretty successful salesmen,” Miley said, “This negotiation started long before the November elections, as did the decision of the Odebrecht Company that come to West Virginia in Wood County, as did Southwest Energy to come to West Virginia to take over Chesapeake’s assets and to drill more here, as did the companies that are located at the Bridgeport airport, that provides a billion dollar economic impact, and while our colleague and friend  from the 27th chooses to focus on the glass being half-full, I choose to focus on the glass being…excuse me, half-empty, I choose to focus on the glass being half-full, and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, that’s not to suggest we don’t have problems and areas of improvement, it’s only to suggest that we have a lot of positive things occurring in this state.”