Hundreds of hog farm opponents attend DNR meeting

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - The gymnasium at Hatton-McCredie Elementary school in northwest Callaway County buzzed with activity Thursday evening as representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) facilitated a public meeting concerning a proposed hog farm. 

Iowa-based Eichelberger Farms Inc. plans to bring a 10,000 hog concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) to Callaway County, but not everyone is on board with that plan.

Neighbors have been fighting the proposed CAFO since May. The DNR announced a meeting to hear neighbor grievances last month. The Water Protection Program, a section of the DNR, will listen to public comments and then recommend that the DNR either deny or allow the proposed farm. 

"All those comments go into our review of the application and eventually our decision on issuing it or issuing it with conditions or denying it," said Water Protection Program Director John Madras. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources outlines all regulations that CAFOs must meet to be in operation on their website.

Opponents of the hog farm hired Kathy Martin, a licensed engineer from Oklahoma, to survey the land.

"As an engineer I look at the engineering design of the waste management system, the pits under the barn, look at the piping, look at the mortality management, look at the site and compare all of those items to what's required by the regulations, and then I created a report," Martin said.

This report pointed to numerous possible problems that could arise on the 20 acres of land in question.

"The biggest part is the location itself," Martin said. "They are going to build these barns on top of three ponds, they failed to mention any of the ponds in the permit application at all and, to me, if you're going to be building something underground on top of a lake you should talk about the fact that there's a lake there already."

According to a section of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act, if the DNR approves the CAFO, Eichelberger Farms must next apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System monitors possible pollutants that could damage waterways. 

The DNR will review the comments from Thursday's meeting, and it will either accept or deny Eichelberger Farms' proposal in about a month.

A map shown at a public meeting on Nov. 8, 2014, in Callaway County, Missouri, at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School. (KOMU/Meghan Levota)

Citizens of Callaway County are concerned about a proposed hog farm. They announced their concerns at a public meeting on Nov. 8, 2014, in Callaway County, Missouri, at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School. (KOMU/Meghan Levota)

People came from across the state of Missouri to a public meeting on Nov. 8, 2014, in Callaway County, Missouri, at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School.to show their support because this hog farm could affect everyone. (KOMU/Meghan Levota)

People from all over Missouri gave their comments at a public meeting on Nov. 8, 2014, in Callaway County, Missouri, at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School. (KOMU/Meghan Levota)

Gary Windmann, farmer from Mexico, Missouri, got passionate sharing his opposition at a public meeting on Nov. 8, 2014, in Callaway County, Missouri at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School. (KOMU/Meghan Levota)

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