PROSPECT, OH (WCMH) – Poor air quality, smelly water and dropping property values led to Monday evening’s large attendance at the Prospect Township Trustees meeting.
Concerned Marion County residents packed the hall to voice their displeasure over nearby pig farms, which some blame for the poor conditions.
Sam Lauer said he’s worried hog waste could be getting in his well water.
“The under 2,500 head count are self-monitored. They’re supposed to be monitoring themselves,” he said. “Can we trust them now? I don’t know.”
His property has neighboring pig farms nearby.
“They’re just putting up more and more,” said Lauer. “There’s no stopping them.”
Other residents spoke up at the meeting, complaining of strong, foul odors from the pig farms, as well as water quality concerns and property devaluation.
“I’m all for the good farmer that’s doing things right, that cares about the environment and their neighbors, but too many of them just don’t care,” said Lauer.
David Isler’s family pig farm neighbors Lauer. He said residents should not be concerned.
“Hog farmers are great stewards of the land. They understand what it takes,” said Isler. “We know what we’re doing out here. We use science. We have our soils tested. We have our manure tested.”
He said they are environmentally conscious, including using cover crops and no-till farming techniques.
“These hog barns are made to hold manure until there’s that right time to put it on the ground,” said Isler. “When we do apply the manure, which is a great fertilizer. It’s an organic fertilizer. We know how much to put on and we know where to put it.”
The Ohio Pork Council came to the meeting, too. Bryan Humphreys, the group’s executive vice president, encouraged concerned residents to reach out if they believe a farmer is doing something wrong.
“For those operations that are under that size it doesn’t mean that it’s un-regulated,” said Humphreys. “There’s still the Soil and Water folks that they can call. They can still talk to the EPA or the Department of Agriculture.”
State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda and a representative from State Sen. Dave Burke’s office were also in attendance at the meeting.