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Tensions rise on both sides at SE Minnesota hog farm meeting

Tensions were high at a public meeting at the Mabel Community Center between residents and the farmer proposing a massive Fillmore County hog farm.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2018 11:54 PM
Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 7:17 AM

MABEL, Minn. - Tensions were high at a public meeting at the Mabel Community Center between residents and the farmer proposing a massive Fillmore County hog farm.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency went through their findings, determining the farm poses no danger to the surrounding community.

"There is no evidence of sinkhole development," a representative said.

But nearby residents cried foul, including hog farmer Dayna Burtness, who was collecting hundreds of signatures calling for an Environmental Impact Statement and an end to the project.

"I specifically am worried about consolidation in the hog industry and I really want Southeastern Minnesota to be a place for family farmers, not corporate agriculture that's controlling everything and polluting everything," Burtness said.

Al Hein, the farmer proposing the facility, insists he and the MPCA have gone through the necessary steps to ensure the farm will be beneficial to the community.

"They wouldn't have taken this project thus far and given us this degree of confidence had they not had faith in this process," Hein said.

He invites anyone with concern to come and sit down with him.

"Come out to the farm, sit across the table, and I could explain how comprehensive the process was," Hein said.

Burtness, though, isn't buying it.

"This is not something we want here," Burtness said.

John Line Stine, the MPCA Commissioner, will make the decision on whether or not an Environmental Impact Statement is needed by the end of the year. The MPCA is open to any public comments. For more information, contact charles.peterson@state.mn.us by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 11th.

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