March 18, 2013
On March 4, Prairie Rivers Network attended a public informational meeting on a proposed hog operation called D&B Farms. The operation would house almost 5,000 hogs in a single building in rural Adams County, which borders the Mississippi River. At the hearing, we raised our concerns that the 8-foot deep waste storage pit underneath the building might leak and contaminate nearby wells.
We also requested that when the waste is land-applied as fertilizer, that it be injected and not merely applied to the surface where it could easily run off into nearby streams and ditches. As indicated by the picture to the right, the proposed construction site is in a hilly area.
Before the public meeting, we provided concerned neighbors with information about environmental regulations and helped them prepare questions and comments. We worked with these neighbors and Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water to put on a press conference immediately before the meeting. The intent of the press conference was to make public our concerns about the environmental and community impacts of large-scale hog operations. Fortunately, several members of the press attended.
Our press conference was also attended by members of the Illinois Livestock Development Group. They stood just a few feet from us as we read our statements, and one of the men unabashedly held out a tape recorder. These men regularly attend our press conferences on proposed livestock operations.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is currently evaluating whether the proposed operation meets the siting requirements of the Livestock Management Facilities Act. If construction is approved, some neighbors fear there will be bad odors, polluted runoff, and lower property values. Indeed, one of the neighbors lives less than a half mile from the proposed hog operation and is devastated by how his life might change.