More than 100 protest hog confinement in Winneshiek Co. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More than 100 protest hog confinement in Winneshiek Co.

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WINNESHIEK COUNTY (KWWL) - More than 100 people took over the steps of the Winneshiek County Courthouse today to protest against a proposed hog confinement facility in the county.

"There are more than 100 people out there today when the wind chill is 20 below and we're standing in the shade," said Steve McCargar, who was one of those leading the charge today. "So you could say the people of this county are definitely up in arms about this county."

The facility would house 7,500 hogs. Opponents said there would be a lot of negative impact to the area if it were to be built.

They worry that if the cement pit that is to hold the waste would crack, the waste could leak into a nearby creek and contaminate water supplies.

They also say the ammonia cloud that would come with that many hogs would disrupt wildlife at nearby Cardinal Marsh State Wildlife Area, as well as be a smelly nuisance to nearby residents.

The protest was held before a public hearing held by the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors. The board voted 5-0 to deny the application for the facility. 

Their main concerns centered around the manure management plan, or, in other words, how the manure created at the facility would be used on local farmlands.

All of the sites, they said, were too far away to pump the manure, so most likely it would have to be hauled.

They said many of the local bridges aren't rated to hold that much weight. They also said one of the sites overlaps with a different facility's manure management plan, which they said is a big no-no.

"We're an ag county, OK, so to say, 'No, we don't want agriculture here,' no, that's not what we're about," said Mark Kuhn, District 5 Supervisor for Winneshiek County. "What this is all about is that we follow through, and that the manure management plans are proper, that the facilities are built in proper locations."

The county will now send its recommendation, along with any public input they've gathered, to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Kuhn said they'll review the information and make a decision.
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