Hog farm plans breed anxiety

US - Across Hancock County, 20,000 hogs are being raised on small traditional farms and in highly mechanized confinement barns with 1,000 or more hogs each.
calendar icon 23 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
‘I have never said I wasn’t going to get the permits.’ - Cecil Boes, Jr., Hancock County livestock farmer

None, though, has raised a public outcry like a Cass Township farmer's plans to breed and raise nearly 7,500 hogs in three facilities on his family's land just northeast of Findlay. Concerned about negative health and environmental effects, some neighbors contend that farmer Cecil Boes, Jr., is sidestepping the law by configuring the hog operation so that he does not need to obtain state permits.

Mr. Boes, 52, disputes the allegation, saying that two of his five children - his 25-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter - are interested in farming and would each be the sole proprietors of separate, 2,450-head finishing barns, where hogs are raised for slaughter.

Mr. Boes, who is a Cass Township trustee, would own a farrowing operation, where sows would be bred. The facilities, he said, would be set back from the road near wooded areas as much as a mile apart.

"They're each risking about a half-million dollars," said Mr. Boes, a third-generation farmer. "The comment I'm hearing that I'm using [my kids] to do this is what irritates me the most."

The Ohio Department of Agriculture requires permits for livestock operations with 2,500 or more hogs weighing at least 55 pounds each. Kevin Elder, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Livestock Environmental Permitting Program, said that if fewer than 2,500 hogs are in a separately owned and operated building on separate land, the owner does not have to seek permits.

Mr. Boes said his children ultimately want to buy into the family partnership that owns about 1,500 acres and farms about 1,700. Once they become partners in the business, he said, they would have to get operating permits for the hog farm because the facilities would then be under the same ownership.

"I have never said I wasn't going to get the permits," he said, adding that the $4 million project would comply with all state regulations for permitted hog farms.

Source: Toledoblade.com

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