Coverage From Callaway

Callaway County Farmers Seek Legal Action Against Hog Facility

Posted: Jun 17, 2014 5:06 PM by James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Jul 22, 2014 9:47 AM

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The group of Callaway County residents against a proposed 10,000 hog facility announced Tuesday they are taking their conflict to an attorney.

The residents met last week for an open forum at the Hatton McCredie Elementary School where they received and discussed information about the impacts of the facility. Jeff Jones, who organized the meeting for his neighbors, felt the meeting accomplished its goal.

Jones said, "It was not so much talking about for or against it was about gaining the understanding of exactly what was coming into play."

After mulling over the information presented at the meeting, however, residents felt that for environmental and quality-of-life purposes, they were opposed to the facility.

Jones contacted David Eichelberger of Eichelberger Farms and asked him if he would consider moving the facility to a less populated area. Eichelberger responded to Jones Monday and informed him the company would be moving ahead with plans to build the facility.

"A scale of that size is going to be impossible to not infringe on your neighbors," Jones said. "When you're spreading that much manure and waste, that many dead hogs, the negatives are easily outweighing the positives in my opinion."

The group of neighbors met Monday night and decided based on the information they had and Eichelberger's intention to continue pursuing development, they would seek legal advice about how to confront the company.

Jones said he and the neighbors hope to "respectfully" show the Eichlebergers that "they need to take this large-scale operation to a less populated area."

The neighbors' concerns include that the facility would affect the quality of water in the area, decrease home and land value, deteriorate roads, and add a generally unwanted smell and appearance.

Neighbors claim the building of the facility would also go against a nearly two-decade-old agreement.

Shirley Kidwell, another neighbor, said one of the owners of the land that is being sold to Eichelberger, wanted to build a similar facility in 1994. When neighbors opposed that 50,000 hog facility,he backed down, but asked that neighbors agree to let him keep a 5,600 hog facility he was already constructing on his property. Neighbors agreed on the condition that he would not allow any more hogs to be brought in within 5 miles of the facility at any point in the future. Kidwell said the proposed Eichelberger facility is less that 2 miles away.

Jones said, "it is very strange to me that a producer would treat a consumer with this kind of respect, or lack of it."

KOMU has attempted to contact Eichelberger Farms and David Eichelberger without success, and calls have not been returned.

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