County considers Ward hog farm expansion

The proposed expansion of a hog Confined Animal Feeding Operation near Ward has some neighbors complaining of additional odors.
Paul Barthel, owner of High Point Pork, asked the Moody County Commission to allow him to expanded to a Class A CAFO with the addition of a separate barn area down the road from his original farm. The total number of pigs between the two sites would be 2,030.
Neighbor Michael Engwicht said with all of the CAFO in the area, there are often odors making it unpleasant to be outside. The stink also lowers his property values if he wants to sell someday, he said. He encouraged commissioners to make Barthel expand closer to his existing barns.
“Hogs and poultry are the two worst smells you can possibly have,” he said. “It’s absolutely unpleasant to be outside.”
Jody Carstensen of Ward said she is concerned about air quality, as well. “We can’t truck in fresh air,” she said.
She also doesn’t like the farming practice. “Personally, I’m against confining animals for profit,” she said.
Barthel said his house is next to his barn. “For the care of that pig in that barn, I want it as close to me as possible,” he said.
He needs to have the newly planned barn at a different location because of disease preventing farming practices. The animals would be at different stages of growth.
The county commission is reviewing Barthel’s application and will be prepared to make a decision at the next meeting at 9 a.m. Aug. 20.
Some neighbors supported Barthel’s operation, as well.
Todd Sanderson said there is an occasional odor and he can sympathize with others about that. But he supports Barthel’s expansion. “I would feel differently if it were an off-site owner.”
Pat Vontersch, who is a partner with Barthel, said the area is blessed with an active and robust livestock industry because of its natural resources. “It’s not necessarily a given that it has a negative effect on land values,” he said.
In other county business,
•After looking more closely at budget requests, the commission has decided for now to leave a new garage for the county van, and car and body cameras for the Sheriff’s Office in its provisionary budget. The garage is estimated to cost $30,000, while the camera system has a $45,000 price tag.
•The county is sending a letter to Wildwood Dairy to require the dairy to remove all temporary housing on the site by Aug. 31. The dairy has been allowing workers to live in storage pods while the facility has been under construction, which is not allowed by the county.
In addition, the state Department of Environmental and Natural Resources found 19 deficiencies in a June 28 inspection of the dairy and has asked for those to be corrected.
The massive dairy does have some animals on site at this point.
•The commission approved a location for a sign along Veteran’s Street near Broad Avenue, across from the casino, for Red Rock Trading Co. The new retail business that sells a variety of merchandise plans for no bigger than a 4-foot by 8-foot non-lighted sign.


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