The Little Mississinewa River near Union City, Indiana, will lose upward of 40,000 fish as a result of a manure spill from a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) hog operation. The spill, or more accurately a “wash-off”, occurred this past Monday.

Stateline Agri Incorporated – also known as Stateline Farms and Kremer Family Farms – applied 27,000 gallons of hog manure to a field about a mile south of Indiana 32. Heavy rains Monday washed that manure off the field and into a drainage tile into the river. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) will determine whether or not the manure was applied improperly, or if too much was applied to the non-planted field. The manure must be applied at an agronomic rate, or in a way so the nutrients that seep into the ground are minimal and don’t affect groundwater supplies.

The dead fish span about seven miles, while the pollutants in the river extend up to nine miles, and include areas both north and south of Union City, as well as through Harter Park, the city’s largest park.

Photo credit: Wikipedia


In the above picture, sows are confined in farrowing crates. The sows will have the piglets and will not be allowed to leave the crates until the piglets are weaned. Then, for the sows, it’s back to the breeding cycle where they will again be impregnated, have piglets, and start all over again, and again, and again. The sows will spend their lives in these cages where they barely have room to move.

Photo credit: Factory Farm


The map above shows the number of CAFOs per state. Indiana is now in the group with the highest number of CAFOs. As I keep saying, you can thank our good ole guv for that. His and Skillman’s plans are to double pork production in the next few years. Looks like we will make it.

Photo credit: All-creatures – Manure run-off


CAFOs are here to stay, but we have a choice and that choice is to take action and let our county officials know we want protection against these mega-farms. IDEM will only look at the CAFO application and the attached manure plan. If everything appears to be in order, it won’t make any difference what we say – the CAFO permit will be approved, and, bingo, another CAFO with thousands of animals appears.

Our path must be to go to our county officials to demand that they put some sensible regulations in place. Currently Allen County has no set-back regulations or any other regulations that govern CAFOs. Until counties take action, we will continue to see an explosion in CAFO permits and approvals,

Just what the governor wanted. And, it looks like he will get it because the public hasn’t quite grasped the dangerous nature of these factory farms.


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, Air Pollution, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Cruelty to Animals, Environment, Farming, Pollution and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bea Elliott says:

    I don’t necessarily agree that “CAFOs are here to stay”….. As further evidence shows – a plant based diet is much better for the human body – less harmful to the environment (and resources use) – and certainly better for the animals.
    For health & heart… Go Vegan!

  2. Bea:

    I am a vegetarian, so I don’t support the idea of CAFOs or a meat-based diet. When I said CAFOs are here to stay, unless someone knows something I don’t know, I don’t see Americans turning to a plant-based diet.

    In fact, the emerging countries such as China are now moving toward a higher content of meat in their diet because their incomes are increasing. CAFOs in Indiana are not producing pork to lower our prices; they are increasing pork production to supply the increasing demand in China and other emerging countries.

  3. clint jenkins says:

    Im not sure I would blame the farm totaly for this. Lets keep an eye out for other sources of polution. I say this because people assume too much. Believe it or not some people dont like cafos and would turn this in to get them in trouble and the IDEM is assuming it is the farms fault. It is the easy way out to blame the farm. I can say that 27000 gallons is a drop in the bucket and should not have caused damage to the environment. I dont know the size of the waterbody or the rate per acre or the rainfall amount but this doesnt pass the smell test to me. And your picture of the confined sows is not correct- not that confinment isnt close to that but that picture is bogus. There must be room for the piglets to feed. Those sows teets are not even accesable and that would be a major production no no/. That picture is staged by animal activists.

  4. clint jenkins says:

    That second picture would actualy be classified as a construction run off situation considering the buildings are not complete and there are no animals producing manure there. But if that is the picture you want to post more power to ya.

  5. Clint:

    The info contained in the article is from IDEM – I didn’t make it up. The runoff was a combination of spreading manure and a heavy rain. But this is what happens with larger quantities of manure applied to land. IDEM will investigate to see if the manure was over-applied, which could be the reason for the damage. Once large quantities enter a water source, the toxins in the manure damage the environment or kill the fish.

    I think the picture is prior to the sows having their piglets. They are probably then moved into farrowing crates.

    I am curious, how can you tell if the buildings aren’t complete? It looks like the ones to the left in the pictures are complete.

  6. clint jenkins says:

    The pig picture is still fishy. When you are dealing with 3000 sows you dont keep them in this way and then take the time to move them once they have piglets. This would be hugely redundant and not possible. The second picture- that is a hole dug to level the construction area. The hole will then probably be used as a lagoon. The cement on the buildings is brand new- no feed bins in sight, no gates etc. Lastly, there is no vegitation what so ever on the construction area. My point to this is that yes there is runof from farms, but lets look at it fairly and not put pictures up that represent a false premise. Its not your fault it is the fault of the people at all creatures or factory farm.

    About the fish kill. Belive it or not 27000 gallons is not that much manure (about 4 “honey wagons full”). On a ppm basis it is very small compared to the water volume in the river and environment. And that is assuming that they dumped it straight in the river. Anyway, lets keep an eye on this and see. Im not saying you made it up, Im saying sometimes IDEM and others look for the easiest answer. Maybe they have it right, maybe there is more to it.

  7. Clint:

    Thanks for the insight into the picture of the CAFO site. I am sure you know more about these structures than I do. I am not familiar enough with the “look” of a completed structure to tell whether or not it is complete.

    And, the picture of the sows is questionable, given what you said about moving them. It wouldn’t make much sense.

    I know that the CDC and the EPA have studies that analyze the harm from CAFOs – lung problems and breathing problems for those who work in the confined buildings.

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