Say “NO” to confined hog feedlots

To the editor:

We have had great local support against the Christensen Farms’ confined hog barn proposals, one near my home and one near Mike Rein’s home in Sibley County.

We have gathered 160+ local signatures on a petition and have requested an EAW (Environment Assessment Worksheet) through the Environmental Quality Board process. By erecting two smaller feedlots (less than 3/4th mile apart) rather than one larger one which would invoke special regulations, people feel it indicates Christensen Farms is trying to avoid an environmental inquiry. We are working with the State government to change the rules to regulate all the industrial hog confinement feedlots.

I am stressed out and angry about these hog confinement proposals. I am disgusted that Christensen Farms can turn my neighbors into people who don’t seem to care that dangerous emissions from a proposed confined hog set-up situated upwind from my home could worsen my heart and breathing problems and that the stench could permeate the inside of my new home. I normally got my exercise by walking down to get my mail. Pollutants in the air, like hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and methane fumes, could make it impossible for me to walk the distance without fainting or getting sick. Pollutants from that hog feedlot could deprive me from ever keeping a garden or doing normal outside activities. Everything I put my “blood, sweat and tears” into for the past 60 years will be ruined. And for what? So an “outside industry” can make more money. They don’t care about my welfare, only the profits they can generate.

I am happy to see that people in the area realize that the nearby confined hog feedlots also jeopardize the city of Winthrop. Who can enjoy the outdoors with the stench of pigs wafting in the air? And who wants to drink groundwater contaminated by pig waste? Will people choose to move to Winthrop, buy houses, start up businesses or choose to raise their families in a city where air pollution from confined hog feedlots will almost certainly create problems?

We must all stand together to stop Christensen Farms from infringing on the lifestyle we all want. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the “pursuit of happiness.” What is “happiness?” The peaceful welfare of the community or the opportunity for a large hog confinement industry to make more profits at the expense of that community?

Please attend the upcoming hearing at the Courthouse in Gaylord on Monday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. and voice your opposition to the granting of Conditional Use Permit #1151 and Conditional Use Permit #1152 to establish two hog confinement feedlots west of Winthrop, Sibley County. Think about whether or not you want to breathe fresh air and drink clean water in the future. A nearby large, confined hog feedlot could be in YOUR future if they aren’t stopped.

Rosemary Arhart