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 Only 7 of those were withdrawn.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.