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LETTER: Bon Homme County, S.D., doesn't need big hog operation

MILBANK, S.D. -- Bon Homme County, S.D., residents should be alarmed and ready to defend their community from the proposed Guthmiller hog operation. To those who support concentrated animal feeding operations, citizen lives and lifestyles do not ...

MILBANK, S.D. - Bon Homme County, S.D., residents should be alarmed and ready to defend their community from the proposed Guthmiller hog operation.

To those who support concentrated animal feeding operations, citizen lives and lifestyles do not matter.
Quoting Todd Doom (he has experience with CAFOs in South Dakota’s Charles Mix County), the facts are plain: “Some people will be harmed.” But, according to Doom, it’s worth the sacrifice for “economic development and more jobs.”
As a regional representative of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, a nonprofit supporting CAFO-affected communities across the nation, I can tell you this: CAFOs do not bring jobs, and their contribution to local economies is minimal.
What CAFOs bring are millions of gallons of animal waste that become large amounts of liquid manure threatening health standards. They bring groundwater contamination, and put streams and rivers at risk. They bring respiratory dangers to the elderly, children and the infirmed.
CAFOs bring swarms of disease-spreading flies, along with the threat of superbugs from misuse and abuse of antibiotics. And they often bring destruction of once-vital rural communities that lose businesses when people move away from the odor, and their property values drop.
To quote Rev. Larry Jerke, who spoke at a recent public hearing, “Is this really what we want? Is this the kind of South Dakota we believe in?”
An industrial-scale operation housing the equivalent of nearly 2,500 hogs is going to be built near Robert Jerke’s home in Bon Homme. The argument made is that it will be good for the county. Think again. This is not an economic opportunity for anyone but the CAFO owners. Bon Homme County residents will reap all the problems and none of the benefits.
This county does not need an economic mirage. It needs a reality check in the form of an immediate pause to a process that has moved far ahead of the facts. Enact a moratorium and fair, responsible zoning that protects everyone.
Editor’s note: Krebsbach, of Milbank, S.D., is the regional representative for west-central and western states with the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project.

Related Topics: LIVESTOCKSOUTH DAKOTA
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