Governor Mitch Daniels goal may still be pumping up the economy by doubling pork production in Indiana within the next decade or so, but not everyone shares his dream. The recent failure of the Indiana General Assembly to pass an updated bill regarding animal confinement units signals that there is more controversy ahead. Look for more legislative proposals and more fireworks next session.
The hangup seemed to be the setback distance required for animal CAFO units, sources report. Apparently one of the legislative conferees on the committee trying to work out differences between House and Senate versions insisted on a one-mile setback. That means that buildings and or lagoons, depending upon wording of the regulations, would have to be at least one mile from a residence. Normally the owner's residence is exempted in such plans.
One hog producer who purposely built his unit roughly a half mile off a road in a secluded area is left scratching his head. While urban folks who have visited his farm say they are impressed and that his operation is situated exactly where it should be, when some of those same folks get around to giving input on local ordinances, they push for regulations that would make even his own operation borderline on meeting requirements. Existing operations would be grandfathered in any legislation or local ordinances proposed so far, but to this farmer, that's not the point. The point is that even though decision makers have seen and smelled for themselves, their minds drift onto other priorities when back in the county meeting rooms where decisions are made, It's a real challenge pork producers must face, this farmer believes.
Meanwhile, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture plans a Livestock Summit, for the state purpose of discussing the impact of livestock agriculture on the Hoosier state. This summit is slated for June 7 at the Scottsburg High School Commons in Scottsburg. The school is located on South Gardner Street in Scottsburg. The meeting is slated for 7 p.m to 9:30 pm EDT.
A variety of speakers who see the livestock production angle in Indiana from various viewpoints are slated to speak. They include Eric Kelly, with Ball State University's Department of Urban Planning, Dick Heupel, also from Ball State, Daniel McInery with Bose, McKinney and Evans, LLC, law firm, and Al Heber from Purdue University.
The summit is officially called by Andy Miller, director of ISDA. While Scottsburg may seem like a strange location, it's an easy drive form Jefferson County near Madison, where opposition to large confinement hog units has been strong for many years. A group called Save the Valley that often opposes big, proposed hog operations, is still active in the Jefferson County area.
For more information and reservations to attend the Livestock Summit, call 317-232-8769 by June 7.