Pig-odor study leaves some smelling pork - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pig-odor study leaves some smelling pork

by Bryan Goettel

WASHINGTON COUNTY (KWWL) - The U.S. Senate approved a $410 billion spending bill to fund most government agencies, sending it to President Obama.

It includes more than eight thousand pet projects from lawmakers known as earmarks. Among them, $1.8 million to study hog odor and manure management.

Critics say its the type of wasteful government spending President Obama campaigned against.

But with Iowa's 20 million hogs out-numbering its three million people Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says it's money well spent.

"In farm country manure and odor management are profound, serious challenges," said Harkin.

A woman who lives near a hog farm in Washington County said the smell gets so bad dinner outside is forced to become dinner inside. There's no denying it...living near a hog farm...stinks. But even some of those people think a study of it smells like pork.

The smell is unmistakeable.

"When you're outside it can be pretty bad," said Gregory Van Egdon, of Kalona.

After spending most of his life in California, Van Egdon moved to his wife's hometown of Kalona two and a half years ago. And to within whiffing distance of a hog farm.

"We live in Iowa so you gotta expect that kinda stuff," said Van Egdon.

That's why Van Egdon turns his nose away from a nearly two million dollar spending bill to try and stop the stench.

"To me it's a waste of my money and a waste of everyone else's money," said Van Egdon.

"We knife in our hog manure in the fall so it's not on top," said hog farmer David Yoder.

Yoder's farm is just a few hundred yards away from Van Egdon's home. In the last decade he began putting the manure in the ground.

"Before when you'd put it on top, you'd get some complaints, maybe," said Yoder.

The change has also buried the criticism.

"Tremendous amount of difference," said Yoder. "Less smell."

Yoder admits he doesn't know much about the bill. But he's all ears for ways to cut the odor down even more.

"anything to lower the odor would be a good thing," said yoder.

Van Egdon wouldn't mind seeing something done eventually, but in this economy, he says, now is not the time to whine about swine.

"Right now I think with the deficit and the way our country is, we shouldn't be spending money foolishly on frivolous things," said Van Egdon.

When hogs outnumber people seven to one in this state, their odor will always be an issue -- the question is: is it worth trying to fix it?

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel 

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