Rebuttal on hog barns

To the editor:

In response to the letter from David Preisler regarding the hog confinement barns in Sibley County, I would like to point out some misstatements he made.

Yes, the two Sommer brothers each applied for a permit. No, Bryan is not a “local” farmer. He does not even live in Sibley County. It would appear only Nathan lives nearby.

The problems caused by confined hog factories were not from events dating back 30 years. The pictures I have of mounds of dead flies and coatings of spider webs were sent recently by a neighbor of another confined hog set up. It was only a month or so ago that the lady I mentioned told me how she got sick while mowing her lawn. Those neighbors are farther away from the offending barn than my home and Mr. Rein’s home will be. All the problems I listed are recent.

The “improved manure storage and application” practices and the “odor control technologies” Mr. P. mentions must be pretty inefficient or too expensive to be used because he can’t deny there are some pretty strong odors (bacteria) that hit you when you drive past an already established confined hog barn. It is only natural to expect the same will be the case with these two feedlots. They must not be using them in Iowa either, since a recent Iowan said he was happy to escape the smell from all the feedlots down there. Also, if the pollutants and odor from the feedlot are so miniscule, why doesn’t Nathan build the thing northwest of his house? That land is more isolated than anything they proposed.

I read a copy of the application and it stated that they planned to feed 5,980 pigs in each one. Yes, it is 20 pigs less than the 6,000-pig threshold. More stringent rules would have applied if the two had been one. They plan on exchanging those 5,980 pigs every eight weeks. That means more than 35,000 pigs a year will be housed in EACH barn. That’s no longer good neighbor farming. It’s industry moving in on family farms.

Yes, the two barns are a long (?) mile FROM EACH OTHER. Apparently, that long length is to protect the health of the pigs. But the “rules” state that each barn need be only 1/8th mile away from a human’s home. Wow! The pigs must have better advocates than people do!

Just read all the horrible FACTS compiled by scientists, doctors and regular people about the effects of hog confinement factories. They aren’t making that up. People from many countries all over the world have learned that pig factories don’t mix with the contented, established lifestyle of people. These two new factories should not be placed where proposed.

Where to put them??? Not where people have lived for 60 years. There are useable uninhabited areas.

Rosemary Arhart