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Board Hears Concerns Over Proposed CAFO

By Joseph Schany - | Sep 17, 2020

by Joseph Schany

Concerns were raised over the proposed construction of a new hog confinement facility at Tuesday’s regular session meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, landowners and interested parties participated in the meeting via conference call.

Aletha King, Palo Alto County Zoning, met with the Board to present conditional use permits previously discussed at Monday night’s Zoning Board meeting, including a proposal from NWI Pork LLC for the construction of a new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Section 23 of Lost Island Township. The proposed CAFO project would confine two 2,400 head wean to finish swine barns in the township.

Zoning previously gave conditional approval of the permit Monday night, with King stating it meets the Palo Alto County Good Neighbor policy and part of the DNR master matrix. However, according to King, “Because the DNR has not visited the site, the utility permit was approved with the stipulation the DNR okays it once a site visit is completed.”

Contention arose from select landowners and interested parties over details concerning the project information, and a request was made to delay any decision altogether.

Karen Hudson of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project attended the Monday evening Zoning Board meeting. According to Hudson, the conditional approval decision made by Zoning was based on a lack of verification on the CAFO application. In a statement, Hudson said, “Several participants questioned the lack of true verification of setback measurements which should be performed and reported by a DNR site visit.”

Hudson also noted, “Participants in the meeting stated that specific detailed information regarding the project was not made available to them nor was the application process done in a timely manner.”

Explained Hudson, “Citizens emphasized the public was not provided with a site map, construction drawings, an engineering drawing of a proposed truck turnaround, and details of the site’s Manure Management Plan (MMP) and therefore requested a delay in the project due to this lack of critical information.”

Along with the lack of information, concern was expressed over the dangers to health and quality of life a new confinement would bring, especially with a long-planned church outreach project adjacent to the site.

Read the full article in The Democrat.