Illinois County could get 9,600 more Hogs

ILLINOIS, US — An additional 9,600 pigs could call Woodford County home if the Illinois Department of Agriculture approves the expansion of two hog farms and the construction of a third.
calendar icon 22 July 2008
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But news of those building plans has raised a stink among some surrounding residents, especially those sitting downwind of the three facilities, writes Frank Radosevich II, Journal Star.

New Horizon Pork, the owner of the two hog farms slated for expansion, already has filed paperwork with the agriculture department requesting the addition of a nearly 20,000-square-foot building at each site. The farms, one located about a mile outside Roanoke on County Road 1600 North and the other closer to Washburn on County Road 1700 East, would double their number of pigs to 4,800.

Documents for a third farm, which, too, would hold 4,800 hogs, also have been filed. That new facility would sit on County Road 1600 North, between 1600 and 1700 East, and would feature two buildings roughly 20,000 square feet says Mr Radosevich II.

Farmer Dean Backer, whose homestead sits about a mile northeast of New Horizon's Roanoke plant, said he is not pleased with the expansion proposals.

"These people don't care about their neighbors, they just care about the almighty dollar," said Backer, who opposed the original construction of the Roanoke facility. "They should have never been built in the first place."

Backer, a fourth-generation farmer, said the smell is overpowering and the farms are large consumers of the local water supply.

Randy Leman, a co-owner of Triple L Pork, which operates the facilities, said dense trees and other vegetation would surround the hog farms to mitigate how far the manure smell might travel. Additionally, the facilities would use on average about one gallon of water per animal per day.

"We're trying to do everything we can to be neighbor-friendly," Leman said. "The water issue sometimes gets exaggerated."

All three sites would use pits for manure storage underneath the buildings. Officials already contacted affected residents by mail last week.

On Monday, the Woodford County Board requested the Department of Agriculture host informational meetings regarding all three facilities. No dates or times have been set, though the department must hold the meetings within 15 days of the board's request.
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