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Summer work eyed for hog farm

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News Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Tuesday's approval of a conditional use permit to operate a hog facility in Davison County gives Jackrabbit Family Farms a green light for pre-construction preparation, officials associated with the project said Wednesday.

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That green light assumes there will be no lawsuit against the permit for the project, a 5,400-sow operation to be located about 10 miles south of Mount Vernon.

Canton-based attorney Larry Nelson, representing Baker Township resident Lyle Reimnitz, disputed the legality of Jackrabbit's permit application during Tuesday's Board of Adjustment hearing, stating the county commissioners failed to follow steps outlined in their own county's comprehensive land use plan.

The Daily Republic was unable to reach Reimnitz for comment Wednesday. Nelson said he is not authorized to comment on the matter.

Pipestone System CEO Luke Minion also did not return calls Wednesday. Pipestone will manage the hog confinement for Jackrabbit's investors, who have never been publicly identified.

Assuming no challenges to the local permit and swift approval of other matters by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the project could begin construction as early as mid-summer, said Todd Van Maanen, vice president of Yankton-based engineering firm Eisenbraun & Associates.

"The permit is the gateway for moving the project forward," he said. His company specializes in contained animal feeding operations -- commonly abbreviated as CAFOs.

The next step is to submit a CAFO permit application to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"That application will consist of geologic testing on the site, a detailed nutrient management plan for application of the nutrients [including manure] and detailed plans and specifications for all of the waste containment portions of the project," Van Maanen said.

Van Maanen said his company's portion of the project deals with the project "from the floor down and all of the piping associated with the project."

The 10-foot-deep waste pits will be under three of the four buildings on the project: two gestation barns, a gilt development barn. A farrowing barn will have a 2-foot deep pit that will drain into one of the gestation pits.

Animals will be raised on slotted floors in the buildings and fans will draw fresh air into the building and down through the slotted floors and manure pits, and outside.

The manure will be pumped from the pits using a hose-drag system and will then be injected into nearby fields once or twice a year.

Injecting the manure maintains nitrogen levels in the manure and helps to reduce odors, Van Maanen said.

Completed application materials must first be submitted to the DENR for review.

Once the application is received, the state will publish a notice that it has received the documents, Van Maanen said.

That starts the clock ticking on a 30-day public comment period. No permits can be issued until after that review period is done.

Once the DENR approves the application documents, it can authorize construction. Van Maanen said he plans on having approval to proceed with construction 45 days after he submits the application.

The DENR will also review the project during and after construction

"Only after then will we get the go-ahead to populate the barns," Van Maanen said.

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