Lakeside Residents Oppose Hog Farm Entry

1 decade 2 years 9 months ago Thursday, March 02 2006 Mar 2, 2006 Thursday, March 02, 2006 4:08:05 PM CST March 02, 2006 in News

A group of neighbors is trying to keep hog operations out of their neighborhood, and away from Mark Twain lake.

David Luetkemeyer has proposed to set up a 5,000 hog farm near the lake. "I always wanted to be a farmer, since I've been a little kid."

However, Luetkemeyer's dream is causing a stir among lakeside residents. Gary Ely loves living by the lake. "This was where I planned to stay the rest of my life." Ely said he doesn't think he could live with a hog farm across the road.

Ely and his other neighbors have organized to keep the pigs at bay.

"It's inconceivable to us, and to our organization that a facility like this could be built that close to 60 homes," said Dick Lawler, Spokesperson of Protect Mark Twain Lake.

In the last month, Protect Mark Twain Lake has raised thousands of dollars, from members who say Luetkemeyer's plan caught them off-guard.

Ely said Luetkemeyer has never approached him to talk about his plans for the farm.

Luetkemeyer assured the neighbors that there are ways to mitigate odor problems. "Windbreaks around the lagoon, windbreaks around the barn, there's even some applications that absorb the smell that comes out of the barn, if there is any. But we're addressing those, and wanting to make this as neighborhood-friendly as possible."

But Ely and his neighbors said they don't want to live downwind of the fields where Luetkemeyer plans to spread the hog waste.

A bigger concern for the homeowners is the issue of waste disposal. "If there is seepage from the waste, there definitely could be damage to the lake," Ely said.

But Luetkemeyer dismissed these fears. "This is a no-discharge system. You could probably put this thing on the shore of Mark Twain Lake. There's not anything that's going to be discharged out of this into the lake."

Opponents to the farm say they don't want to take the risk. Lawler said they will keep working until they have laws passed that keep the hog operations three miles away from Mark Twain lake.

For now, the only hope for the farm's opponents is to comment to the Department of Natural Resources about water issues.

The Department of Natural Resources comments on permit requests for dozens of similar farms every year, and says it very rarely denies a permit.

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