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Bon Homme residents pitch new animal feeding ordinance

TYNDALL--Some Bon Homme County residents hope to put the brakes on new animal feeding operations. On Tuesday at the Bon Homme County Commission meeting, locals proposed a moratorium on enclosed housing animal facilities with more than 800 units a...

TYNDALL-Some Bon Homme County residents hope to put the brakes on new animal feeding operations.

On Tuesday at the Bon Homme County Commission meeting, locals proposed a moratorium on enclosed housing animal facilities with more than 800 units after three new swine finishing units were recently passed. The commission also heard a proposal to establish a new set of ordinances regarding animal feeding operations.

"We're not happy that there's no real ordinance against them," said Robert Jerke, who lives about three quarters of a mile away from a planned 2,400-head swine facility near Scotland.

At Tuesday's meeting, locals pitched a plan to establish a set of rules and regulatory oversight over animal feeding operations in the area. Jerke said the commission seemed receptive to the rules, but no ordinance was adopted Tuesday.

If the plan is approved, animal feeding operations could not be built within 500 feet of a neighboring property, operators would be forced to clean any type of spill and all enclosed animal housing with more than 1,000 units would be forced to utilize the best scientifically proven methods to reduce odors.

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Jerke's father, LeRoy, said the ordinance is something Bon Homme County should have considered long ago.

"The thing is, something should have been done 15-20 years ago," LeRoy Jerke said. "It's not too late yet, but we're trying to get people to look into those."

The proposal is the result of the recently passed hog operations in northern Bon Homme County to be built by David and Kayla Guthmiller, but David Guthmiller thinks the proposal would impact more than just swine facilities.

"I don't think we can afford to have any more restrictions and stifle the ag economy," Guthmiller said Tuesday.

Guthmiller said the proposal would likely impact those raising turkeys, cattle and chickens, not just those looking to enter the swine industry.

While Guthmiller's plan has already received the proper permits, he has heard concerns from neighbors to his facility. Although Guthmiller intends to construct his facilities no less than a half-mile from the closest resident, the fourth-generation farmer and father of five hopes his neighbors understand he's simply trying to grow his business.

Primarily a corn and soybean producer, Guthmiller's new project would be his first major venture into the livestock industry.

"We're trying to position ourselves and our kids for the future and develop economic growth for our community," Guthmiller said. "I'm not in it entirely for my own gain, but to stimulate local economies by creating demand with livestock."

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Guthmiller declined to say how many workers he currently employs and how many he intends to add due to the new facilities, but he said it will generate new property taxes for the county while increasing demand for corn in the region.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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