It's a controversy that's caught the attention of several cities throughout northern Arkansas -- a commercial hog farm on the Buffalo River Watershed.
Many people are worried about pollution, but the Agriculture Department says the environment is not in danger.
Wednesday night, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) held a meeting in Jasper, Arkansas to explain the permit process C&H Farms had to go through.
Dozens of farmers and citizens, mostly from Newton County and northwest Arkansas, crowded the Carroll Electric Building to capacity to get the facts.
The Fayetteville city council recently passed a resolution opposing the farm, saying the effects to the Buffalo River would hurt state tourism.
The major concerns on the 630-acre hog farm are the existence and the location. Many farmers say they were not notified ahead of time.
In response, ADEQ stated it's only required to make this kind of standard permit public on the ADEQ website for 30 days. If no complaints are made, then the building begins.
"There's a lot of concern on both sides," says Gordon Watkins with the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance. "I'm a farmer. I understand where the farmers are coming from. I don't fault the farmers. I think they're trying to make a living like everybody else. I think the fault lies with the regulations, with the ADEQ allowing this to happen."
"This is emotional for both sides," says C&H hog farmer Jason Henson. "I mean, they're trying to get me shut down, which is my livelihood."
"We'll be moving forward, and we'll be responding to any complaints we get about the hog farm," says Teresa Marks, director of ADEQ. "We'll be doing water sampling. We'll be testing. We'll treat this hog farm like we would any other hog farm operation that we have got, that we're monitoring now."
On Thursday, a group of citizens filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the loan.
The hog farm has been running for about three weeks with about 350 hogs.
article, plus video report
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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