Photo by Wendy Davis

County board member Marvin Stichnoth speaks in opposition to the proposed hog facility in rural Stockland based on his constituents complaints to him.

The Iroquois County Board gave its okay to three livestock management facilities — one project — to be building in Stockland Township.

The project goes by the name Parks E4-E6, as is being constructed by Parks Company based out of Danville. It will be managed by Anthony and Danielle Lucht.

The vote at Tuesday’s county board meeting came after three public hearings conducted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture in recent weeks after the county board requested such.

Mark Tweedy spoke Tuesday on behalf of rural Stockland residents who oppose the facilities. He said he lives less than a mile from the proposed site.

The concerns residents have focus on the smell of the hogs and the manure and the water the facilities will use.

He said the smell will affect residents themselves, but it will also hurt property values.

As for water, he said the Parks Company says the new facilities won’t hurt residents’ shallow wells, but they won’t sign a contract to fix them if it does.

Other concerns residents have are what will be done if the barns end up abandoned after their use and why local grain won’t be used as feed for the animals.

He said there will be additional taxes generated for the school and township “but not a lot”.

Nick Anderson with the Illinois Livestock Development Group spoke at Tuesday’s meeting telling the board “It’s your challenge as a board to see how these farms meet the eight-point siting criteria,” which was presented at the public hearings. He said the proposed facilities meet the Livestock Management Facilities Act, and the board needs to have “confidence in the LMFA”.

“Parks does a nice job on its projects,” he said. He said, “It’s good young people want to expand livestock in Iroquois County.”

County board member John Zumwalt said Iroquois County is zoned for agriculture.

He said it’s a $4 million investment for the three sites; it’s $15,000-25,000 in taxes.

County board member Chad McGinnis said for decades the Iroquois County Board has “pushed agriculture”, as it’s kept its zoning focused on agriculture.

“A precedent has been set that Iroquois County supports agriculture.

“Agriculture is agriculture,” he said. “We are a prime candidate for facilities like this.”

County board member Marvin Stichnoth said he’ll live four miles away from the proposed facilities — “These hog facilities don’t affect me.” But, he said, there were 22 of his constituents who asked for his help, and “No one was in support.”

The smell would affect people, he said.

County board member Barb Offill said she went on a tour of a nearby facility of Parks Company and she couldn’t smell anything foul.

County board chairman John Shure said odor affects different people differently.

Stichnoth also pointed out that, yes, there would be more tax dollars for the schools but, because of the increased property tax, the school would get less in state aid.

No employees would be hired.

“Who is really gaining from this proposed operation?” Stichnoth asked.

The vote was 13-6 on two of the facilities and 12-7 on one.

Shure said the Parks Company has agreed to enter into a written agreement with the county and township highway department regard upkeep of the road. He said he wanted to see that agreement before approving the facility, thus the different vote tally.

Those voting against the facilities were Steve Huse, Sherry Johnson, Charles Alt, Stichnoth, Joe Young and Roger Bard.

Voting in favor of the facilities were McGinnis, Michael McTaggart, Leanne Duby, Lyle Behrends, Paul Ducat, Offill, Ernest Curtis, Donna Crow, Paul Bowers, Kevin Bohlmann, Kevin Coughenour and Zumwalt.

Jed Whitlow was absent.

The final determination from the Department of Agriculture will be Oct. 3.