An estimated 120 people filled Wibholm Hall in Clarinda on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to voice and listen to comments about a proposed hog confinement facility southeast of town near the East Nodaway River.
Beth Steeve, who organized the meeting, said Parks Finishing LLC is planning a facility to house up to 7,500 hogs. The facility is still in the proposal stage, although the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has approved the plan.
She is concerned about how the facility will impact water and air quality and how it could change nearby property values. The site is about 4 miles southeast of Clarinda on V Avenue, commonly known as East River Road. No one spoke in favor of the facility or said they represented Parks Finishing.
“There are 14 families within one mile. I’m very concerned about the quality of the neighborhood and home life,” Steeve said. “I wish there would have been a less dense populated area. There could be better locations.”
Several people, some who live near the site, explained their worries about how the odor from the facility will change their daily lives and fear manure runoff will contaminate water sources.
“A lot of people here have lived here all their lives and they still want to be able to sit on their front porch,” said Gerald Eitzen. “The smell may make it feel like they are locked in their house like a jail.”
Erika Henke made reference to North Carolina State University studies about how hog confinements increase the potential for air and water pollution because of the amount of manure on site. Some studies show long-term exposure to hog confinements can cause various health issues.
Plans are for the facility to hold the manure in concrete pits below the facility. Henke calculated the facility will create more than 1 million gallons of manure each year. Concerns are the concrete pits could leak and contaminate sources of water.
“With no or little oversight management, I think if it can go wrong it will go wrong,” she said.
Those pits will be emptied when needed and the material can be used as a crop field fertilizer.
Dennis Carlson disagreed with reports of hog confinements that do not have an odor.
“That’s a filthy lie. When they pump the manure, it will have an odor,” he said.
Others talked about how the facility will lower property values and interest from potential buyers. Some feared houses near the facility won’t sell and all the properties in the area will lose value.
John Stimson briefly explained how the property-tax formulas for confinements create little tax income for the county. Some were concerned about the long-term condition of a paved, county road in the area that will probably be used by trucks going to the confinement.
“They take more than it gives and it doesn’t carry the weight,” Stimson said about confinements.
Chris Petersen, president of Farmers Union in Iowa, suggested area property owners have their properties appraised before the facility is built.
Greg Derr, a resident of Nodaway County, Mo., said the difference between Iowa and Missouri with hog confinements is Missouri has more local control of the proposals. Iowa’s hog confinement strategy is more at the state level.
“You need to be fighting,” he told the crowd...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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