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Annual North Carolina farm bill clearing Senate addresses 'captive' deer, swine farms, eels

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — The General Assembly's annual bill to address North Carolina's farm industry has cleared the Senate.

The bill approved 44-2 on Monday shifts regulation of North Carolina deer raised on farms from wildlife officials to the Department of Agriculture.

It would allow a handful of shuttered swine farms to re-open without having to upgrade animal waste technology as long as livestock don't exceed previously permitted levels. And it directs agencies to create a pilot program to raise and harvest a certain kind of eel.

The "captive" deer provisions have been the most discussed. Deer and elk breeders have sought changes in regulations to boost the industry. Some remain worried more deer herds could provide an opening for chronic wasting disease to enter the state.

The bill next goes to the House.

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