Property owners spar over potential hog buying business

A proposal to build a hog buying station is stirring hard feelings and differing opinions among property owners on Highway 251.

Leonard Grant of L&A Pork Inc. already had a feedlot permit for a property between Corning, Minn. and Highway 218, but he is now looking to partner with Lynch Livestock for a hog buying station for up to 1,200 head of hogs. On Tuesday, the county board tabled Grant’s request for a conditional use permit until the Oct. 23 meeting.

To Grant, the move is another opportunity after a previous deal with a hog operation fell through.

“It’s just a way for me to recoup some of that,” Grant said.

But to the more than six nearby home owners who attended the meeting, it’s something that would damage their property values and hurt their standard of living. They argued the buying station would bring many more semis through the area and increase traffic, not to mention the smell from the facility.

They also argued Grant didn’t handle the issue properly.

“They slipped this under the rug with us,” said Warren Smith, who lives near the proposed site.

Warren added the land is low and prone to frequent flooding, even though it’s not in the flood plain.

“Believe me: It floods, and it floods quite frequently, too,” he said.

Warren’s wife, Lanita, said a buying station is much different than a feedlot because of the traffic changes and number of animals coming in and out.

“The picture has changed drastically,” she said.

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.

“They have to maximize the production out of their buildings,” he said.

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 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. “There are going to be dead animals.”

Slavin assured property owners that Lynch’s intention is to continually keep moving animals in and out of the facility.

“The ultimate goal is to be moving those pigs as quickly as possible,” Slavin said.

However, Reimers said there are many unknowns with the feedlot.

“There’s a lot of questions without answers right now,” he said.

Reimers and others asked to know how the buying station will affect property values.

However, Commissioner Jerry Reinartz, who is an appraiser, said it’s very difficult to determine if or how a hog operation would affect nearby property values. While real estate agents can offer opinions, they would not be permissible in court or in appeals.

Another question is road permitting. Since Highway 251 is a state road, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is the permitting authority. Grant has a permit for a feedlot, but Public Works Director Mike Hanson questioned whether the permit still applied with the increased traffic of a buying station.

The county board is not Grant’s lone hurdle, as Udolpho Township also requires he have 10 acres of land by the facility. He currently has five, but he said he’s working to secure additional land.

The board will make its decision on the hog buying station Oct. 23. Even if the buying station is turned down, Grant still has a permit for a feedlot.

SportsPlus

Albert Lea

Mower, Waseca Relay for Life joins with Freeborn Co.

News

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

News

Trump receives enough delegate votes to officially be Republicans’ nominee

Business

SMART to receive grant funding toward facilities in Austin, Waseca

Mower County

13th annual Austin ArtWorks festival to feature Ta-coumba T. Aiken

News

Federal judge dismisses Trump classified documents case over concerns with prosecutor’s appointment

Business

Hormel again named one of 60 Best Companies to Sell For

News

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

News

Trump is fine, campaign says, after being whisked off stage following apparent gunfire at rally

Mower County

Passing the test: June flood showed successes of mitigation and work left to do

Mower County

Land acquired for future state hunting site

Mower County

Lunchbox Series to present on new flag design, seal

Education

Education: Graduates

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: June 24-July 8

Mower County

In Your Community: Mower County Senior Center

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

News

US inflation cools again, potentially paving way for Fed to cut interest rates soon

News

Sen. Klobuchar says she’s cancer-free but will get radiation as precaution after a spot removal

Mower County

New Matchbox program opening new vistas for theater students

Mower County

3 suffer life threatening injuries in early afternoon crash just outside of Austin

News

Three weeks after heavy rain, Waterville is still recovering from flooding

News

Presidential battle could play role in control of state capitols in several swing states

Mower County

Celebrating the past, advocating for the future

Albert Lea

Ground broken Wednesday in Albert Lea for inclusive playground