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NewsTribune photo/Shannon Crawley-Serpette Debbie Clanin (left) addressed the Marshall County Board on Thursday as she spoke out against a proposed hog farm that would be located by Sandy Creek near her home.
Not familiar with the proposed sow farm? Stats:
* The project, known as Sandy Creek Lane LLC, would consist of a sow farm and three buildings, including a gestation building, a farrowing building and a gilt developer building.
* The farm would be approximately 3.5 miles northwest of Wenona.
* The management company for the project would be VMC (Veterinary Medical Center) Manage-ment Corp of Williams-burg, Iowa.
* It would create an anticipated 15 to 20 jobs, listed as a site manager, breeding/gestation manager, farrowing manager, breeding/gestation caretakers, farrowing caretakers and maintenance. Other associated jobs would also be created, including weaner pig trucking, snow removal and mowing.
* An expected 8,589 tons of feed, comprised primarily of locally-bought corn and soybean meal, would be required per year.
* The estimated project cost is $17 million.
* The farm would have 5,600 sows.
* Estimated property taxes is listed as $50,000 per year.
Three Marshall County residents have a beef with the proposed sow farm which could be built near Wenona.
Debbie Clanin and her husband Steve were among those protesting the sow farm Thursday at the Marshall County Board meeting.
Debbie said she has lived her whole life in the Wenona and Toluca areas.
“I, and we, eat, live and breathe Sandy Creek,” she said. “But now turmoil has become a part of our daily life.”
Debbie said she intends to fight to stop the proposed sow farm because she feels it is imperative to protect the nearby creek, the land and the health of the area residents.
She urged board members to “take a drive” by Sandy Creek.
“See and smell the beauty of this creek and its valley,” she said.
She asked how board members would feel about having a large sow farm located as close as ¼ mile from their home.
Debbie’s husband, Steve, highlighted why he believes these hog farms are bad — for instance, he said studies have shown rates of MRSA, a staph infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics, increase in communities near these facilities.
He said he has talked with many people who are worried that the project, Sandy Creek Lane LLC, will have a detrimental effect on Sandy Creek.
“Our rights need to be protected,” he said.
Nic Anderson of Illinois Livestock Development Group addressed the county board as well.
“We’ve tried to open our discussion up to neighbors in the area,” he said. “We realize there’s a lot of emotion tied to this.”
Facilities like these have a lot of regulations in place, he said.
“Livestock farms are held to zero discharge,” he said.
When asked by Debbie if he lived by a hog farm, Anderson said he doesn’t but he would allow it to happen.
Later in the meeting, Steve once again addressed the board.
“I appreciate the situation you are all in,” he said.
He did, however, want to voice one final thought: “This is a factory really. It’s not a farm.”
Public hearing set for April 17 at Fieldcrest East Illinois Department of Agriculture is running a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at the Fieldcrest East Middle School gym in Wenona.
Following that, the Marshall County Board has 30 days to vote on a non-binding advisory resolution on the matter.
The board doesn’t have the ability to decide whether the Department of Agriculture will grant a permit to the sow farm — board members can only make a recommendation one way or the other.
However, the farm would require a special use permit which can only be granted by Marshall County.
If the Department of Agriculture grants a permit and construction of the farm begins, but the county does not grant the special use permit, litigation would be needed to stop it, Marshall County State’s Attorney Paul Bauer said at the meeting.