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Marshall County residents discuss proposed hog confinements

by 5m Editor
26 October 2006, at 10:38am

IOWA - Residents of northwest Marshall County met this week to discuss plans by Premium Select to build three large hog confinement buildings northwest of State Center. They'd be near the town of Clemons, where Eileen Witt lives.

She says residents aren't opposed to farming, but they don't want it to change their ecosystem. She says hog producers in the area, like the region's cattle and sheep farmers and other producers, have protected the pristine Minerva Valley area for 150 years.

Iowa Select is located in Iowa Falls, more than 25 miles away. Witt says residents in the nearby towns of Clemons and Minerva are concerned about odor, manure spills, and the risk of water pollution. "That's not responsible farming," Witt says. "That's not protecting our eco-system. That's not protecting the pristine valley that we have. And I think they're aware of this because they're not putting it in their own backyards." She says more than 100 people attended this week's meeting bringing questions for the Department of Natural Resources, the agency that might regulate a new hog farm.

They wanted to ask "why the DNR's hands are tied on this," and how they can send the message that the plan won't be tolerated in that community. A DNR representative was at the meeting to tell the local residents how the permitting process works, and Wayne Gieselman says he didn't have much to say that pleased the group. He's Division Administrator for Environmental Services with the Department of Natural Resources.

What he explained was just how the DNR reviews manure-management plans, and what the state's "master matrix" is for evaluating environmental impact and how Marshall county fits into that. He also told the unhappy neighbors that such facilities don't require construction permits from the D-N-R, so they can go ahead and build subject to a 30-day waiting period and the approval of their manure-management plan. The plan by Select Farms met all the criteria the agency requires.

Source: Radio Iowa

5m Editor