Discussion on hog confinements held during Supervisors’ meeting
Wed, 03/29/2017 - 12:59pm admin
By Marcie Klomp News Editor email@example.com
CRESCO - A group of about 32 neighbors and Reicks View Farms representatives attended the Howard County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 20. A discussion was held in regards to a hog confinement building being considered for construction on the east side of the 4000 block of Saint Ave.
Sue George was the spokesperson for the Saint Ave. neighbors. The Board of Supervisors agreed to give the group a venue during the weekly meeting to air their grievances. The Board has no say or authority in buildings under 1,000 animal units, which is the size of this particular facility.
An animal unit is number of head (2,499) times swine over 55 pounds (0.4) for a total of 999.6 animal units. This means a master matrix and permit are not needed, although the owner still has to meet DNR guidelines.
There are a lot of rules Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) need to follow. Some of those rules, the neighbors contend, are not being met.
AFOs need to have a minimum separation distance from sinkholes of 1,000 feet or 500 feet from a water source. The DNR has a fairly accurate map of sinkholes in the state, although it does not have all sinkholes marked. The neighbors claim the proposed facility will be within 1,000 feet of an unmarked sinkhole. They have several individuals who saw and filled in the area about 1991.
Howard County Sanitarian Marshall Rogne was given the information and passed it on to DNR officials. There is currently a hold on the application until more information can be found by the State.
In a report given to the supervisors, Rogne and DNR officials, other issues the group brought up include the concern of water levels in area wells, several of which are just 60 feet deep. Neighbors do not want their wells to go dry. In addition they are worried about the possible contamination of ground water, odors, health of neighbors, devaluation of property, cruelty to animals and their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Neighbors also spoke about concerns of Bigalk Creek Watershed and the effect nitrates in the manure will have on ground water in regards to some local organic farming operations.
In conclusion, Supervisor Jan McGovern stated, “We have no authority to make recommendations.” She said all the rules are governed by the legislature.
After the Reicks View Farms operation discussion, Gary Sovereign of Paris Foods was on hand to hear about the company’s permit. About 20 business and other interested individuals showed up in support of Paris Foods’ expansion.
All the paperwork was correct, and the project was approved by the board.