Hog business: The smell of money or manure?

NORTH DAKOTA - Bernie and Judy Walters say they have never been bothered by the pollution from the coal-burning power plant about two miles from their home.

But a proposal to put a 5,000-pig operation even closer has them thinking about raising a stink. "I'm sure not crazy about having that smell at my house," Judy Walters said of the proposed hog farm south of Center that could crank out nearly 140,000 piglets annually.

"It will devaluate our house if we ever want to sell it - that's what we're concerned about." Bernie Walters worries that the smell will prevent him from having an outdoor barbecue.

Center does have hogs already, about 2,000 of them in three separate finishing facilities outside of town. "It's not like we don't understand it," Oliver County Extension Agent Rick Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he's taken a neutral stance on the latest proposal. "It's not my job to take a position, good or bad," Schmidt said. "Questions are going to have to be answered before it's built, otherwise we're going to have to live with it."

Pork producers are looking to bring big hog businesses to North Dakota to keep pace with a growing market. But even with the promise of jobs, they are running into objections from people worried about the suffocating stench and the potential for runoff from cesspools.

"Smell is an issue," Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said. "Manure smells and pig manure is more offensive than most."

Source: Aberdeen News
calendar icon 10 January 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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