Neighbors protest hog buying stationPublished 10:16am Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Contention from residents near the site of a proposed hog-buying station on Highway 251 in northwest Mower County led Udolpho Township supervisors to table the issue during a Tuesday night meeting.
“None of the residents out here want this hog dumping station out in this area,” said Warren Smith, who lives nearby the proposed facility. “This whole thing is just blown out of hand.”
Leonard Grant of L&A pork received a conditional use permit from the Mower County Board in October 2012 to open a hog buying station with partner Lynch Livestock for up to 1,200 head of hogs. According to Lynch’s John Slavin, most of the animals at the facility would be hogs that didn’t fit the criteria to sell to Hormel Foods Corp.
That stirred property owners’ concerns the animals would be unhealthy, and would lead to many deceased, decomposing animals on the property.
Though Slavin assured them at a county board meeting in October a rendering truck would pick up any deceased animals, the property owners argued rendering trucks aren’t always able to get to a farm right away. They also argued the smell would attract wildlife and disturb their pets.
“These are going to be some sickly hogs,” property owner Dennis Reimers said in October. “There are going to be dead animals.”
Now the issue needs to clear the township when it returns at a March 12 meeting.
Nearby homeowners also argued the buying station would decrease property values and increase truck traffic.
“This is a quiet neighborhood out there,” Smith said, adding he worried the facility could add 20 semi trucks daily to nearby roads.
Smith said authorities were at the meeting to ensure nothing got out of hand, as tensions were building at a meeting on Feb. 6.
While the issue was tabled, Smith said he thought all three supervisors were ready to approve the hog station.
“It was like talking to a brick wall,” he said. “This is not right.”
Smith estimates about 17 homes are within a mile of the site, with the closest house being 1,000 feet away.
The county board gave a local hog-buying station the green-light, but there are still township hurdles.
Despite some concerns, commissioners said they saw no choice but approval.
“I don’t see where we can deny this permit,” Jerry Reinartz said.
While the county gave Grant the go-ahead, he has failed to gain approval from Udolpho Township, which requires him to have 10 acres of land. He only has five and hasn’t yet secured additional land.
—Jason Schoonover contributed to this report.