Commission hears appeal from hog farm opponents

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - Opponents of a proposed concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) cited water quality as a main concern as they presented their appeal of a permit approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Tuesday.

A group of concerned neighbors and farmers called the Friends of Responsible Agriculture (FORAG) submitted their appeal after the DNR approved the operation permit for Callaway Farrowing LLC. One member of FORAG said the largest concerns center on protecting nearby water sources.

"The Callaway Farrowing LLC site is on very high ground that is a potential major hazard to a lot of watersheds, actually five right in my area," farmer Jeff Jones said. "As they transfer the nutrients from many, many animals that will be concentrated in close quarters, they're going to effect many of the neighbors and a lot of the land, and as it rains, we're very concerned about how it's going to pollute our natural resources."

Jones said the natural resources are vital to his farming.

"It's dangerous not only for the people but also for the animals that drink in nearby streams," he said.

Below is a timeline of the project's history. (Read more.)

Lawyers on both sides of the controversy spent time reviewing the wording of the permit and accepted by the DNR.

Representatives from FORAG, Callaway Farrowing LLC, and the DNR all declined to comment on the hearing.  

The appeal was presented in the Administrative Hearing Commission which is a neutral tribunal that often handles cases about other state departments.

Commissioner Karen Winn presided over the hearing and will make her recommendation to the Clean Water Commission on the validaty of the permit.