Randolph and Jay Counties have led the state’s expansion in adding swine last year to the area. Randolph County received permits to add 126,866 animals and Jay County received permits to add 47,800 animals. That trend is continuing based on Indiana Department of Environmental Management permit requests and approvals. What a shocker there!

IDEM is making sure that Daniels and Skillman reach their objective of doubling Indiana’s pork production in the next few years. The heck with the environment that is impacted by these industrial-sized factory farms, and the heck with IDEM’s obligation to protect our environment.

The CAFO free-for-all was triggered back in 2005 when Daniels and Skillman released their “Possibilities Unbound” plan which included the goal of doubling pork production for export. Assisting in Daniels’ and Skillman’s plans, just coincidentally, was the relaxation of time frames by the Indiana Department of Environmental Managment. Concurrently with the Possibilities Unbound plan, IDEM passed a regulation which gave CAFO operators, present and future, three additional years to formulate and submit their waste management plans.

Thus, from only 7 permit requests filed from January 1, 2003, up to January 1, 2006, the number of permits filed in 2006 alone jumped to 198 permits. Only 7 of those were withdrawn. Almost all – 77% or 144 – were approved by the end of the year. That means 144 factory farms added to the Indiana landscape.

But it isn’t enough that in-state operators are increasing at an alarming rate. Out-of-state corporations are also invading Indiana to set up CAFOs. And, why not? Indiana has very few, if any, restrictions on CAFOs at the state level or at the county levels. Last year, even though three different CAFO bills were introduced to address regulation, our Indiana legislators couldn’t agree on passage of any of them. Obviously, they didn’t think it was a major problem, and, why worry, there’s always another year to deal with it. Right?

North Carolina wised up and instituted a moratorium on the expansion of the hog industry. The state went from 2.6 million hogs in 1988 to almost 10 million today. North Carolina saw the issue of the mind-boggling amount of waste produced as a hazard that pollutes the water, air, and soil and endangers the public health.

Since North Carolina hog producers were stymied by North Carolina’s moratorium, they just decided to look around to see where they could plop down their industrial factory farms. And, you guessed it, what better place than Indiana with little or no restrictions, a governor and lieutenant governor who choose to ignore the environmental damage that can be done in their relentless pursuit of bringing Indiana into their vision of the “future”, and a legislature that bickers about the issue while more and more CAFOs spring up.

One North Carolina corporation is Maxwell Foods, Inc. of Goldsboro, North Carolina. It has plans for growth in Indiana by building three sow facilities in Randolph County. Each facility will hold 5,842 adult breeding females – that is a total of 17,526 breeding sows. Permits are already in hand to proceed with the three farms. In addition to the sow facilities, Maxwell was also issued permits for three nursery pig farms each holding 19,200 head – that is 57,600 nursery pigs.

Natural Pork Production ll (NPP II), an Iowa-based corporation, bought a sow farm in Indiana from a Crawfordsville operation which had a record number of manure spills and fish kills resulting in the loss of the producer’s permit and the eventual sale of the operation to NPP II – bet they got a good deal out of that. The company also has plans to obtain even more facilities in Indiana.

In-state and out-of-state operations are rapidly turning Indiana into one big industrial farm lot. Unless the legislature and the counties are forced to get off dead center by citizens, we will continue to be the refuge for those operations which can no longer operate in their home states. We will also continue to see an alarming increase in these operations scurrying to get their permit approvals before legislation can be passed to regulate them.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Agriculture and Food Production, Business, Cities and Towns, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Industrial farms, Rivers. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Brian Cotswald says:

    I agree with the point that the Daniels administration needs to step up funding for IDEM so they can do a good job of inspecting animal feeding operations. Assuming IDEM does need the additional funds and are not just wasting tax payers moneys, they need to be held accountable. And I feel there are loop holes in our laws that need stopped, and IDEM needs the legal backing to do the job we expect them to do.
    As far as the statement about giving 3 additional years to complete waste management plans, that was a lot more complicated of an issue than you make it sound. First of all, that is only for existing CAFOs. New CAFOs that you are talking about, must have their manure management plans done BEFORE the permits are issued. That is part of the permit process. The complicated part of that ruling came because the federal EPA was in limbo over what was to be included in writing a manure management plan and who was to have one. So IDEM was basically having to say “make a manure management plan….but we don’t know what you are to put in it right now……” As I understand it, that ruling was all about getting it done correctly, the first time, and giving the operations time to do it correctly.
    “Indiana has very few, if any, restrictions on CAFOs” what world do you live in? We operate under many rules and regulations. I have a whole file cabinet just for IDEM rules and my supporting paperwork to show I am following all those rules. So far, we are not regulated out of business, like you would like to see. As for counties, they are free to pass local zoning laws as they see fit for their community. They have had tons of time to do this, they are just passing the buck to the State government hoping they don’t have to be the “bad guy” in all this.
    North Carolina screwed up big time by have NO rules and regulations in place with the swine expansion boom started there in the late 1980’s. Indiana has had rules in place sense 1972 – and then has revised them sense. NC allowed lagoons to be built in sandy type soils that NEVER should have been allowed. That is a far different case than here in Indiana and is not a valid comparison.
    Yes, the owners of larger sow farms are coming to Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois to finish out their hogs. The reason is that that 1) they are under a building moratorium in NC and can not build NEW construction and 2) it is very costly to ship all the corn and soybean meal needed to grow pigs out in NC. It is far cheaper to ship the pigs here, closer to the corn, soybeans, and packing plants. Many young farmers, just starting out, are finding this to be a great opportunity for them to get into farming. I started this way myself. I was helped out by feeding on contract with one of these large operators, then after a few years working with them, I had my buildings paid off and was able to run my operation on my own. This gave me the capitol I needed to help me buy out my Dad and Grandfather when they wanted to retire. Otherwise, I might have had to sell some of my land to buy them out. It can be a tremendous opportunity. Remember, only the pigs inside these buildings are owned by the out of state company. They are still cared for by the local farmer, who lives right there, owns the buildings, runs the farm and cares about his local community. Most of the feed and vet supplies are purchased locally as well.
    I think we are clearly seeing this is a three sided picture. Hopefully your readers can clearly see that third side.

  2. jane hedges says:

    Mr. Cotswald, You said “NC allowed lagoons to be built in sandy type soils that NEVER should have been allowed”. That is exactly where I.D.E.M. is allowing TollTail Dairy in northeastern Ind. to be built. The 3,500 cow CAFO is next to Grass Lake, a major wetland. It is on very sandy soil extremely high in nitrates. It is 1/2 mile from a huge fish and wildlife preserve. It appears to me that NC has seen the light, but Ind. has no clue. Jane Hedges

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