A plan by D & B Farms, LLC, to build an industrial hog facility that will house more than 4,900 hogs was approved by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), overshadowing tremendous public opposition in Adams County in western Illinois.
The hog farm will be located near Lima, Ill., population 159.
Adams County Families Against Rural Messes (FARM) has opposed the controversial project since plans for its construction were released in late 2012. FARM is concerned about private wells and stream contamination, toxic airborne emissions, surrounding property devaluation and road degradation, all of which have occurred in Illinois and across the country in communities where large-scale industrial animal feeding operations locate.
The Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water (ICCAW) and Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) have been working with FARM throughout the facility application process to address major issues relating the impacts the project will create. ICCAW will continue to support the Adams County FARM group and encourage them to stand up for their rights and protect their community from the poorly-sited livestock factory.
Citizens, environmental experts and scientists have all warned about serious impacts from the facility, which is located in a hilly and porous karst area with surface waters that drain into the Mississippi River.
PRN, Illinois’ statewide river conservation organization, is concerned that polluted runoff from the land application fields will degrade the quality of the local streams.
“We have informed the neighbors that there are regulations D&B must follow to protect the environment while land-applying the livestock waste,” said Stacy James, water resources scientist at PRN. “For example, livestock waste must not be land-applied during rain or within 200 feet of streams.
“There is also a requirement that waste applied within a quarter mile of residences be injected or incorporated on the day of application,” James added.
Resident Judy Koehler noted: “My farm is across the road from the D&B hog factory site. I am disappointed because the hog factory will feed and finish nearly 10,000 hogs yearly over a waste pit located above sensitive geology and near surface water. My neighbors are frustrated in that D&B failed to demonstrate that it has a plan to control animal waste, which is commonly discharged into nearby streams, soil and air. Neither does it disclose whether it plans to compost its dead pigs on site. The hog factory will likely reduce the value of my nearby home site by half and negatively impact my enjoyment and quality of rural life.”
Kevin Tushaus of the community coalition added: “I’m very disappointed and saddened beyond words by the IDOA’s approval of the facility. They seem to show little concern for local residents or the environment and more concern for ‘Modern Agriculture’ and the almighty dollar. As if seeing the value of my new home and private property plummet weren’t enough, I now have very real health and environmental threats to worry about. The thought of having unregulated emissions containing toxic gases and pathogens blowing onto my property and into my home and having swine manure containing drugs such as antibiotics and ‘superbug’ resistant pathogens draining into my ponds concerns me greatly. I urge the public to stay tuned in to this issue and to let D & B know that they are being watched and not forgotten.”
Linda and Jerry Gallamore, a couple who already reside on property next to the proposed hog factory, share deep concern.
“Our farm is adjacent to the land where D&B farms is building their hog complex and will be spreading their waste,” the Gallamores noted. “It is located on the sensitive bluffs overlooking the Mississippi Valley. Our property has a drop of 100 feet from the waste application site that will carry runoff of urine and feces from the animals. This waste site will entirely surround our property before any runoff will drain into a canal that flows directly into the Mississippi River. The ‘Illinois Rules of Drainage’ does not allow this, but it appears the IDOA shows no care for this, as they have made no attempt to address this. They appear to be tools for large companies (like “Cargill” in this case), to get what they want. Initially, my neighbors and I will suffer the financial and health losses for this, but eventually, as the diseases spread, everyone will. At what point do humans have rights?”
Peer-reviewed research demonstrates industrial-scale livestock operations routinely over-apply manure waste and impact the health of rural communities. In Illinois and across the country, residents are forced to police their neighborhoods because of routine pollution runoff, odor and emissions.
From the May 29-June 4, 2013, issue