By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
More than 100 people crammed into the Adams County Board meeting room Monday for an Illinois Department of Agriculture hearing on a proposal by D&B Farms LLC to build a build a hog confinement 1.9 miles southwest of Lima.
D&B Farms LLC, owned by Daron Duke and Brock Brackensick, has proposed building a 561-by-71 foot finishing building that would house 4,960 hogs.
The Adams County Board now has 30 business days to make a non-binding recommendation to the Department of Agriculture.
Chairman Les Post said the board will make its recommendation at next week’s regularly scheduled meeting. The Department of Agriculture will then have 15 days to approve, deny or ask for additional information on proposed hog confinement.
Judy Koehler, who owns land across the road from the proposed site, said if the hog confinement is built, she will have few options for her land.
“I have to make a tough decision,” said Koehler, who believes runoff water from the facility willpollute the stream that traverses her land. “Do I want to continue my plan to build a cabin on that site, or do I want to sell before that hog factory is built?”
Thomas Kevin Tushaus, who lives a quarter-of-a-mile south of the proposed site, said he understands that he lives in farm country, but he doesn’t believe the hog confinement is a farm operation.
“It’s a large corporate hog factory, whose sole purpose is to generate big revenues for the owners and backers with little concern for the health and well-being of the local residents and the local environment,” Tushaus said. “There is no resemblance to traditional farming, which I believe in whole heartily.”
Koehler and Tushaus are part of Adams County Families Against Rural Messes, which held a brief press conference before the hearing and invited environmental supporters to speak against the hog confinement.
Duke said he has every intention to be a good neighbor.
“Our proposed livestock facility is designed to utilize some of the newest technologies and sciences that will make us become more efficient, safer to animals and workers and become more responsive to the environment than livestock operations of the past,” he said.
Duke believes the selected site on the farm would be the best location to control odors. The waste from the hogs would be stored underneath the facility and would be used for fertilizer in the area by pumping it through a drag line and injecting it eight inches into the soil.
Jacob Nims, agricultural engineer with Frank and West Environmental Engineers, said using injection helps minimize manure contact with air.
“It’s widely accepted as the best available technology for manure application,” he said. “All livestock manure will be applied by a certified manure applicator.”
Nims also said the final grade of the facility would be designed to divert clean rainwater away from the building so it doesn’t reach the waste pit.
David Nugge, who owns and operates a hog confinement, said he has worked on hog farms his whole life and has not suffered any adverse side effects.
“We’re in them every day,” he said. “If anybody’s going to be sick, it’s going to be us.”
However, Dan Trent, a farmer who lives near a hog confinement, said the odor affected his family enough that they moved farther away from it.
“They didn’t bother us until it doubled in size,” he said. “The reason we moved was because of the odor.”
Some are hoping both sides can be satisfied with the proposed facility.
Lima Mayor Jeffrey Lomax said he has heard some concerns about the water, but he believes that Duke has good intentions and that the proposal can work for most residents.
“I want to help him make sure this works,” he said.