Dodge County couple suing township over hog farm

Published 8:14 am Monday, March 5, 2018

A rural Dodge County couple has initiated a civil lawsuit against Ripley Township, the Ripley Township Board of Adjustments and Appeals, and hog farm applicants Timothy and Jennifer Langdon, following township approval of the 12th swine factory farm within a three-mile radius of the couple’s farm.

According to the complaint filed in district court on Feb. 27, Lowell and Evelyn Trom claim that Ripley Township failed and refused to enforce its zoning ordinances requiring public notice and complete application information; and that the township also improperly granted a variance and conditional use permit for the proposed project, consisting of 2,400 pigs or 720 animal units.

According to the complaint, the township ordinance requires a minimum of 71/2 acres for feedlots for 10 to 100 animal units.

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The Langdon 5-acre parcel is limited by ordinance to fewer than 10 animal units, or 33 hogs on their property, not 720 animal units or 2,400 hogs requested and approved by the township.

The couple argue that the township ordinance requires an owner or manager live on site. The Langdons, who live near Cannon Falls, allegedly do not intend to live on the site “while the Troms will be forced to smell the stench and deal with the other adverse effects of this large swine factory farm,” according to the complaint filed by their attorney Jeffrey Brown.

According to the Trom’s complaint, the township ignored a 22-page letter and extensive supporting documentation provided by the Trom’s daughter, Sonja Trom Eayrs, and several others concerning the serious public health and environmental issues related to factory farms, including the cumulative effects of the noxious odors and hydrogen sulfide emissions from feedlots in the immediate vicinity.

As of Friday, no response had been made by the township or the Langdons, according to county records.