No consensus at hog farm hearing

News

RIDGE FARM, Ill. (WCIA) — A proposed hog farm in Ridge Farm is causing contention for the people who live there.

There were several complaints from people at a public hearing Thursday night, but there was also some support.

The hog farm would be built a little more than two miles west of the village. The Illinois Department of Agriculture had a public hearing to get input before a decision is made on whether or not to allow the owners to build it.

Dozens of people came to the meeting. They were mainly concerned about the smell and the possible negative affects on property values. The Parks Companies would own and operate the hog farm called “Parks Livestock E7.” They’re in the process of buying 3.5 – 4 acres of land where the barn would be located. It would house about 4,500 pigs.

People questioned the farm engineer and owner about how they plan to control the smell. Their plan is to build a concealed concrete floor with manure storage underneath. They reassured people there would be no uncontrolled release of livestock manure, meaning it would not be exposed. The farm has about 600 acres of land nearby to distribute it and there would be routine maintenance.

People who spoke at the meeting had contrasting opinions about the farm being built so close to the village. One man said, “I bought my property because it was quiet and peaceful. If there had been a hog farm there I would have never bought it. It seems like i’m being run out of my property is what it is.”

Another person spoke saying, “I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have a problem with this. I see this as a way to keep people in the community. I have a bachelors degree in animal science and i worked at hog farms like this.”

After this meeting the Vermilion County Board will have thirty business days to make a decision on whether or not to recommend the proposal to the Department of Agriculture. But they don’t have the final say. The Department of Agriculture will then have up to fifteen days to make the final decision to approve the proposal.

If they get the green light, the company plans to start construction in the spring or summer next year. It would take two to three months to complete.
They hope to have it open by the end of 2020.

The Parks Companies is based out of Vermilion County. It owns two hog farms near Fithian, another near Rossville and others in Iowa and Missouri.

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