The Greene County board of supervisors will hold a public hearing on an expansion of a hog confinement Thursday, Jan. 21, at 9 am in the board room on the second floor of the courthouse.
The facility is owned by Hawker Farms of Iowa Falls and is located at the northeast corner of Section 18 in Highland Township, south of Adaza and northwest of Churdan. There is one building with a capacity of 996 head already at the site. Hawker Farms plans to build a second unit with a total capacity at 2,000, over the threshold requiring approval of a Department of Natural Resources construction permit.
The master matrix scored 475 points; 440 are needed for DNR approval.
The matrix claims no points for having a closure plan, and that was noted by the supervisors as they discussed the matrix Monday. Closure plans were discussed last spring when scoring a master matrix for a New Fashion Pork facility in Cedar Township, Section 3, and in August with a master matrix for S & A Partners in Paton Township, Section 25.
A closure plan is not required by the DNR.
Chuck Wenthold, county zoning official, had already alerted Hawker Farms that the supervisors would like to have a closure plan. Hawker Farms responded that they would not add a closure plan as it isn’t required, and wrote to Wenthold that they are responsible pork producers and would take appropriate action if the site is closed.
Hawker Farms also took no points for landscaping, another item the supervisors watch for.
Hawker Farms feeds for Iowa Select, Wenthold said.
“For us to be consistent, we’ve requested a closure plan and landscaping from anybody else that comes in here, and I don’t think this should be different,” supervisor Dawn Rudolph said.
Board members talked semantics, and decided that they would “suggest” landscaping and “request” a closure plan. “That’s usually a conversation we have with people when they come in,” Rudolph said.
Board chair John Muir identified a closure plan as “a battle of wills” between the CAFO operator and the board. That can be noted in the recommendation to the DNR, but the supervisors have no power to stop a CAFO if it meets the minimum 440 points.