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Worth County approves CAFO near Silver Lake

DNR approval is next step for 5,000 hog-confinement facility

Posted: Feb. 26, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: Feb. 27, 2018 8:14 AM

NORTHWOOD, Iowa - At the Worth County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday morning, board members approved the construction permit for a CAFO to be built near Silver Lake by a vote of 2-0.

The site, located at 490th Street and Cardinal Avenue, which is southeast of Emmons and northeast of Lake Mills, is proposed to consist of a deep pit cement structure that can house 5,000 hogs, and can handle up 2.8 million gallons of manure per year. The site is owned by Eric and Kathy Christianson, with the property to be leased out to CJ Pork, LLP of Lake Mills.

The vote came after over an hour of public comment, the majority of which was against the facility, as nearby residents were concerned about a decrease in quality of life.

James Berge, who lives near Kensett, used to work for a company that pumped out hog pits, and believes the manure smell has taken a toll on his health.

"I always had constant headaches from the hydrogen sulfide. It's terrible," Berge says.

He also adds that there would be no economic benefit to the area.

"It's a bad way to raise livestock, but a good way to keep all the wealth on the top.  Keep the young people as serfs, working for nothing, all the money on top for the packers. And that's not right," Berge says.

Lucas Kreuschner, who, along with his wife Devan, live a half-mile west of the site, says he feels let down by the vote, which he believes was done too quickly.

"They protect Worth County residents, that's their job. And they didn't do that today. They didn't even listen to us," Kreuschner says.

One Worth County resident, who spoke at the meeting, says that he is in favor of the CAFO because it would bring young people into the area who are looking for work.

Supervisors Merlin Bartz and Mark Smeby voted to confirm the site's proposed master matrix score of 450, which exceeds the state's minimum score of 440. Chairman Ken Abrams abstained.

The permit now goes to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who have the authority to approve or deny it.

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