New hog confinements are causing debate in Yankton County.
KELOLAND’s Whitney Fowkes takes a look at the pros and cons of what these farms are doing for the community.
Yankton County is seeing a surge in new hog confinement facilities.
“In the last few years nearly 20 of them have been brought in and now they’re in the process of being constructed,” Yankton County Chairman Dan Klimisch said.
Some residents see it as a benefit, but others are voicing their concerns.
“As a county commissioner one of our jobs are to protect the safety health and welfare of our entire community and so if the citizens of our area have concerns, I have concerns,” Klimisch said.
One worry is the environment.
“Big portion of where peoples concerns are is water quality and odor are probably the one and two however you want to rate them and some of that just ties back to property evaluations that people are concerned with,” Yankton County Commissioner Joe Healy said.
“There are a lot of individuals that have wells in that area. and that’s their sole source of water. Is there going to be contamination from that?” Klimisch said.
Jay Cutts’ family has been in and out of the farming business since the late 1800’s and recently started a swine confinement.
“You don’t get very many chances to change directions or add something new to your enterprises, and, for me, this opportunity showed up and I looked at it, and I said, you know, I think this is a good thing for our farm and I think it’s a good thing for South Dakota to add grain and livestock industry to South Dakota,” Cutts said.
He believes with the ordinances set in place, these confinements are safe and beneficial for the community.
“These are 100% contained units so all the nutrients will go back into the farm ground and it will be a lot better fertilizer for my crops and it will lower my carbon footprint by not having to bring in commercial fertilizers from different parts of the country or different parts of the world,” Cutts said.
Some believe more action is needed to ensure the public’s safety.
“Put in safe guards that protect all citizens you know we have individual rights and then we have the right for the common good and I think its just a matter of finding a compromise in there and properly locating these facilities in the community,” Klimisch said.
County Commissioner Dan Klimisch says some damage has already been done.
“And we understand the farmer has to feed his animals, but the amount of damage that was caused to that road is more than that would ever bring in taxes in decades, so is it economic growth if its costing the county more to fix the roads,” Klimisch said.
But for future farms the county commission has a plan.
“Any future ones we will discuss haul routes for the construction as well as day to day operations and try to have identified roads and paths that trucks can use and it should benefit the producer as such as the county and the townships,” Healy said.
And with more regulations set in place, more benefits may come from the confinements.
“I think these swine finishing units will be a good balance for a just a grain farm production it should help us even out the highs and lows of the grain production prices,” Cutts said.
“I think if we can just make some effort to do these as responsible as possible without overburdening the produces, I think there’s some simple things that can be done. I think we can have livestock expansion in Yankton county and it can be a success and we can mitigate the concerns of neighbors,” Healy said.
For more concerns and benefits of these farms, click below.