The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Public Hearing Planned For Monday, Dec. 5th

Proposed Mega Swine Confinement Stirs Neighbors Into Action

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

From around the Henderson-McDonough County line near the Blandinsville blacktop road, neighbors and concerned friends are gathering Friday at 7:00 p.m. for their third meeting at the Old Bedford Church.

They will be carefully laying out a plan for a short 90 second opportunity for each one who attends a public hearing on Monday, to voice their concerns of the building of a mega hog confinement.

People who share their concerns, should come to both the Friday strategic planning session at Old Bedford, and the Pubic Hearing in Macomb on Monday at 6:00 p.m. .

A Public Notice in a McDonough County newspaper, revealed that South Morgan Acres LLC of Blandinsville has applied for a state permit to establish a hog confinement facility in McDonough County about five miles southwest of Raritan near the Henderson County line on 20 acres of the Marion Butler Trust farmland.

The informational meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 5th at 6:00 p.m. to be held at the Spoon River College, Community Outreach Center, MidAmerica National Bank Conference Hall, 2500 East Jackson, Macomb.

According to the "Notice of Intent To Construct" that was sent to surrounding property owners, the facility is proposed to be approximately 24,500 feet (approximately 4.6 miles) southwest of Raritan, and the closest non-farm business is The Raritan State Bank at 25,470 feet, and closest occupied residence is "Adams Sterling Living Trust".

They plan on constructing five buildings (2 Gestation, a farrowing, a gilt developer, and a Nursery) for 3,500 animal units that total 8,000 swine greater than 55 lbs. and 10,020 less than 55 lbs for a total of 18,000 swine.

Resident Barbara Adams said, "We're 3,280 feet away from the proposed site, the closest house, and I didn't know about it until a stranger called me up from Industry and told me, there was a new application on the Internet. The whole thing has been a big shock.

"We're farmers ourselves. We are not against agriculture, but we think another one 3,000 feet away from us is too close."

Adams said they already have one hog confinement a mile away, but it is next to their home, referring to Jay Harrell's farm home.

"It is not going to be out of control," she said.

"This one, however, is out in a field, and we have concerns of how it is going to be cared for. It is right over the LaMoine River watershed. If anything goes wrong up there it is going to go down and hit the water.

"We are on well water around here and none of us have rural water," Adams said. Adam's well is only 20 feet deep.

Adams was also concerned about how unclear everything is. "Most neighbors have come to the meetings after we contacted them and told them about it. They had no idea."

"The notice is so vague," she said, "and who is doing it. When I called the phone number listed, I got Dr. K.T Wright in Blandinsville, but he couldn't answer any questions. He said all he did was pick up the mail and take it to Carthage to Professional Swine Management.

Barb said she is hoping many come to Old Bedford where they plan to get their ducks in the row and practice their strategy for Monday's hearing.

Laura Twaddle lives in Blandinsville and attends the meetings. I live 1/2 mile from another piece of land Butlers own. "I'm concerned if this goes in, I could be next.

The notice that was published "is so vague" she said, "It is hard to find out if they following everything to the letter of the law."

"We are given 10 days, to put all of this together."

I am concerned if we don't speak up," Twaddle said, "Our silence will be treated as a welcoming sign."

Twaddle said, "If I don't stand up for my neighbor, do you realize what can happen?"

"There's a lagoon on the property with a pollution hazard potential and the La Moine Creek runs just north of this. If there's a problem and they get cited by EPA, they could end up flooding a creek that provides water to La Harpe" she said.

Twaddle, a former Township Supervisor, said she is also concerned about the extra wear and tear on the roads our tax dollars support.

The Illinois Clean Water is assisting the group at Old Bedford Church in preparing for Monday's hearing.

The McDonough County board approved Earl Godt's motion for a public hearing by a vote of 14 to 6 with the Chair, Scott Schwerer, and five others (Chad Hensley, Clarke Kelso, Bill Hillyer, Dave Nissen, and George Dixon. voting no. Rod McGrew was not present at the meeting.

Concerned residents are encouraged to voice their concerns by calling McDonough County Board Members:

Larry Aurelio - 837-4999,

G.W. Carle - 837-2578,

Tony Coniglio - 309-837-4756,

David Cortelyou - 772-2575,

George Dixon - 776-3893,

Earl Godt II - 837-1851,

Alice Henry - 837-7231

Chad Hensley - 772-2277,

Bill Hillyer - 333-2002,

Linda Jani, - 837-1367,

Clarke Kelso - 769-5480,

John Lawson - 772-2572,

Bob Mahr - 772-2767,

Matt McClure 313,2633,

Rod McGrew - 772-2821,

Charles Nedblock - 837-1757,

David Nissen - 254-3683,

L. Scott Schwerer, Chair 652-3830

Vice Chair W. Earl Sims 837-3750

Paul Trimmer - 837-9394,

Lee Trotter - 371-9295.

You can also ask questions or leave your opinions at the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture, Livestock Management Facilities Program at 217-785-2427.