Randolph County's output grows 400 percent in four years

US - The expansion of swine CAFOs in Randolph County will produce an estimated $49.5 million in economic output this year in that county, according to an analysis by Ball State University.
calendar icon 12 June 2007
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"In the last four years, the hog production industry in Randolph County effectively quadrupled," said Richard Heupel, senior project director of BSU's Building Better Communities program. "There has been 398 percent growth over that time period. However, I would not anticipate 400 percent growth over the next four years. There is likely to be some more growth, but I don't anticipate that rate will continue," he added.

Heupel presented an economic analysis of pork production in Jay and Randolph counties during a recent livestock summit sponsored by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, which defended its goal of doubling swine CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) in the state.

Doubling Indiana's pork production would merely "get Indiana back" to where it was decades ago in terms of the number of head of hogs, which peaked at 5.3 million in 1962, said Andy Miller, director of the state department of agriculture.

BSU undertook the analysis in part because of "incendiary and divisive public dialogue" on the CAFO issue, Heupel said during the summit at Scottsburg High School.

The university also became involved because of the lack of unbiased data, because of the economic development implications and because planning commissions are being "co-opted as environmental courts," Heupel said. BSU has expertise in land-use planning.

In 2003, the total output from Randolph County's hog industry was only $12.5 million, including sales, employee compensation, income to owners and payment of property, sales and other taxes.

Employment in Randolph County's pork industry is expected to increase to 1,264 this year, compared to only 335 in 2003.

Source: TheStarPress.com

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