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Published August 13, 2014, 09:45 AM

SD hog farm, neighbors battle over odor

Despite both sides being in the same room, the war of words did not subside over the alleged smell at Jackrabbit Farms south of Mount Vernon, S.D., during a Tuesday meeting of the Davison County Commission.

By: Marcus Traxler , Forum News Service

Despite both sides being in the same room, the war of words did not subside over the alleged smell at Jackrabbit Farms south of Mount Vernon, S.D., during a Tuesday meeting of the Davison County Commission.

Representatives from Pipestone System, the firm that manages the hog facility for its investors, said they have taken every step to diminish the farm’s odor.

“We can work to improve the efficiency, but I’ll tell you this: If you’re asking for it to be 100 percent odor free, it’s not going to be that. We’ve never said it’s going to be that,” said Barry Kerkaert, a veterinarian with Pipestone.

Neighbor Lyle Reimnitz said company representatives told him prior to the barn’s construction that it would smell less than 2 percent of the time, and Jackrabbit simply must do better.

“I’m going to have to live there. I don’t plan on dying any time today,” Reimnitz said. “And I will not live with that stench in my yard.”

The topic, which was discussed at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell, S.D., was only a discussion item and the commissioners did not take any action.

Pipestone general counsel Sean Simpson thinks the barn is operating at an efficiency rate of 80 to 90 percent. He also told the commissioners that Pipestone has previously done what both commissioners and neighbors have asked.

“I can tell you, from the standpoint of Jackrabbit, we’ve done what we said we were going to do,” Simpson said, referencing that Pipestone spent $80,000 to improve the road in front of the farm and $30,000 on biofilters.

After the meeting, Commissioner Denny Kiner said he thinks both sides are now at least understanding each other’s points of view and feels progress is being made.

“We know something needs to be done,” he said. “I think that Jackrabbit is now aware of the situation and I don’t know if that was the case before. I think they see that there is a problem.”

Simpson said he thinks the complaints might never go away.

“What I suspect is that we’re in a position where we’ll never fully satisfy the neighbors of the smell,” Simpson said. “Until there’s scientific data supporting some of this, we’re not just going to spend money every month or year to try to meet these unreasonable requests.”

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