Resistance to hog facility grows

By Ashley Bunton -

Flooding after heavy rain on the land where the proposed hog facility would be built.

Flooding after heavy rain on the land where the proposed hog facility would be built.

Fayette County community members are showing more resistance to a proposed hog farrowing facility that would be built on a 20-acre site on Jones Road.

Neighbors to the proposed facility will be working on letters, meetings, and yard signs in the coming weeks.

Initiated by concerned residents of Paint and Madison townships, the plan is to address the impact a 2,400-hog farrowing facility would have on the county and the residents who live closest to the proposed site.

Roger LeBeau, a 45-year resident of Jones Road, said neighbors have been talking about ways they can address the issues collectively.

“The community, in advance of this being built, needs to get some of their fears addressed,” said LeBeau.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the proposed facility would not be required to have permits to install and operate from the Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting (DLEP). Because the proposed facility would be of a 2,400-hog size, it would not have to meet the permit requirements because it is under the 2,500-hog size required for permitting under ODA.

An ODA permit to operate assures plans are in place for a livestock facility’s manure, insect and rodent control, mortality management for dead livestock, emergency responses, and groundwater testing. These records, when in place, are regularly inspected by ODA.

Duane Mathews, who said he is selling the 20 acres for the hog facility, will continue to own land surrounding the site and plans to use the facility’s manure to spread on the crops he grows in that area.

Residents, including LeBeau, expressed concern about flooding after heavy rains in the area where the proposed hog facility would be built.

“This area is in a watershed, and while it doesn’t always cross the road, the field floods nearly every spring,” said LeBeau.

Water and rain run-off drains from the land and into the adjacent 19.9-mile Compton Creek. Fom there it flows into Paint Creek.

Compton Creek is the largest tributary to the 151,168 acre North Fork sub-watershed, a subsection of the Paint Creek Watershed.

Residents are continuing to discuss how the proposed hog facility would affect the infrastructure of the road as well as the property values of the residential homes in the area.

“I have consulted with legal counsel to protect our interests and we are exploring all legal options,” said Dan Drake.

Drake lives on Myers Road and said the back side of the hog facility would be extremely visible from his property.

He said they intend to increase their contact with local and state officials.

“One, for them to express their opposition to the location of the facility. Two, to actively request the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the state legislature to impose a moratorium on any new facilities, in residential areas in particular, whether or not zoned agriculture, until there is an opportunity for both ODA and the legislature to review and revise threshold permitting requirements so appropriate oversight can be imposed on these facilities that are non-permitted,” said Drake.

Residents will be at the Aug. 11 Paint Township Trustee meeting at the Township Hall in Bloomingburg to talk about the proposed hog facility. They also plan to meet with Madison Township Trustees because the land is close to the township line and affects residents in both townships.

Jill Craig grew up on Jones Road and said she has plans to move back to her childhood home. In an e-mail this week, Craig said residents will distribute 150 yard signs across the county to encourage people to say no to the mega hog factory.

She said they are still asking Duane Mathews to talk to them.

“Not to antagonize him, but to do the respectful neighborly thing, and simply discuss with us his plans, and why he so opposes another solution, like myself or Dan Drake buying that land,” said Craig.

Craig said she wants the truth. Residents don’t know when the construction would begin on the proposed hog facility.

“He says the deal isn’t finalized, but we suspect it is and he’s just trying to get us off his back. And that’s simply not right. We don’t deserve that. Years of friendship and a solid working relationship shouldn’t end like this, a childish sandbox fight,” said Craig.

She said regardless of whatever arguments are to be made, they should get them out there. “Don’t we deserve that, at the very least?”

Flooding after heavy rain on the land where the proposed hog facility would be built. after heavy rain on the land where the proposed hog facility would be built.

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton