A livestock finishing farm is being considered near Stockland.
It’s going by the name Parks E4 Farm, and it will be managed by the Lucht.
David James spoke on behalf of the Parks Company, which is based in Danville, and it has facilities in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois.
Chris West spoke as a consulting engineer with Effingham Equity.
“It’s a rural agricultural area,” said West as for reason why this site was chosen.
The project submittal process started June 10, and the county board was notified July 3 and it asked for a public hearing on it, which was Aug. 6. The final determination from the Department of Agriculture will be Oct. 3.
The project falls under the Livestock Management Facilities Act; and it must meet facility design standards, waste management plan requirements, operator training and testing, financial responsibility, and setback requirements.
For setback it must be a fourth of a mile from a home and a half mile from a populated area.
The eight-point citing criteria it must follow consists of registration and certification requirements; design, location, and operation standards; location compatibility; floodplain and aquifer protection; minimize environmental impact; odor control/reduction; traffic patterns minimize impacts; and facility consistent with area development. This was discussed by West.
There is a nutrient management plan, which is required under the act for a farm which will have more than 1,000 animal units but less than 5,000. As for feed, he said feed will be hauled by truck. This project should have about 1,800 units, 450 head greater than 55 pounds.
As for affecting traffic patterns, there will be an estimated three trucks a week going in and out of the farm on County Road 880. This is for feed transportation and animal transportation trucks.
One of the big concerns for area residents was the water.
He addressed rain runoff. He said clean water division will direct water away from the barns. Inside the barns, and inside the manure trap, will be water stoppage placed at the time of construction.
It was pointed out that there are shallow wells, and many residents wondered if their well would run dry if this farm were put in.
“There won’t be”, said West in addressing whether there would be any issues will neighboring farms’ wells.
There were those who wanted to know what their recourse would be if there were a problem with water. “We don’t see issues,” he said.
James said 20 gallons a minute is used on an average day. With a planned 105 foot deep well, it’s expected to put out 70 gallons a minute.
Odor, of course, was another issue.
James explained that “the best available technology” is available. That, with regular cleaning and maintenance, should keep odor controlled. Diet of animals will also help with odor. “It’s in the farmer’s best interest.” When it’s placed on fields, he said, it’s injected into the root zone, to “minimize the contact with the air”.
He said flies would be combatted with fly bait. “It isn’t going to be a problem.”
The Parks group has reached out to the county board to give information about what it wants to do.
According to information it provided, it will be managed by Anthony and Danielle Lucht, with the help of their three daughters.
The hogs will consume approximately 100,000-120,000 bushels of corn and 3,000-4,0000 bushels of soybean meal.
The building will be 101’8” wide by 341’ long, with slat floors that will house a total of 4,500 pigs. The barn will have an eight feet deep, engineered, concrete pit underneath the slats to collect the manure for the annual application.
The manure will be pumped annually, fertilizing 300-400 acres of cropland in close proximity of the hog barns. The manure will be injected 5-8 inches into the soil to reduce odor and to place the nutrients in the root zone of the next corn crop.
Odor will be controlled by computer ventilation which will control the temperature and humidity levels in the barns to create a comfortable environment for the pigs. The barns will be completely cleaned and disinfected after each group of pigs it eliminate any manure to dust build up.
Under the Livestock Management Facilities Act there are science-based construction standards for livestock barns. They are designed for total containment of manure, protection of groundwater and for treatment of nutrients.
The farm will employ 1-2 people caring for the animals, with the addition of people involved in the milling and delivery of feed and transportation of the hogs.
The community investment in buildings, equipment, and hogs is approximately $1.2-1.4 million. The local tax revenue to Iroquois County will potentially be more than $15,000-20,000 per year in new money, with more than $9,000 going to the Milford School District.
It was questioned how long the farms would be there — if there needs to be some decommissioning plan set up.
“There’s too much invested in these new farms to not operate them,” said West.
There are provisions within the act for closing such a farm.
This has been discussed at Iroquois County Board meetings.
Last month the board requested that the Department of Ag conduct a public hearing to get more information to the public.
This month the board had several individuals, both in favor and against, attend the meeting to voice their opinion.
County board chairman John Shure said the county board has until Sept. 18 to give its recommendation on whether it’s built or not.
The county board’s recommendation is just that; ultimately it’s up to the Department of Agriculture to determine if it’s a good fit with the land and fits within the county’s ordinances.
At Tuesday’s meeting the board had asked that the next two phases of the construction also have public hearings. These, Nick Anderson with the Illinois Livestock Development Group pointed out, would give the same eight-point siting criteria as the E-4 project given Aug. 6. Not only that, but there would have to be two separate hearings because each of the projects are filed separately.