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No Hog Factories in Polk County

BIG WIN! CAFO Ordinance Stalls Under Mountain of Comments

Buried under a mountain of negative comments on their proposed swine CAFO ordinance, the Polk County Environmental Services Committee took no action on July 8, 2020. That’s a big win!

Initial numbers indicate that there were an unprecedented 175 comments made on the ill-conceived proposal. While it is impossible to tell exactly what the final tally will be, it appears that only 14 commenters felt the proposal was too strong and more than 160 thought it was too weak.

Thank you to all of the people who took a break during the 4th of July Holiday to protect the health and property values of our beloved Polk County!

As would be expected during a pandemic, the vast majority of people chose to send in comments by email. While we don’t have final number, initial tallies indicate that there were close to 150 emails, 13 videos and 13 live comments. This far exceeds the more than 110 people who attended a January 2020 public hearing on basically the same proposal.  

Concerns about the proposed ordinance included the lack of protection for un-zoned towns, 200 foot setbacks for an infinite number of hogs and no liability for future pollution. Many people called for Polk County to look seriously at the operations permit ordinance passed in Bayfield County years ago along with the improved versions passed this year by the Towns of Trade Lake and Eureka.

Click here to see comments by one of Polk County’s residents. All the comments will eventually be posted by the county on this page.

While it is not clear what the county’s next step will be, we are so blessed by all of you who stepped up! We are also thankful to see our County Supervisors put the brakes on this deeply-flawed proposal.

Now we have time to design a CAFO ordinance that protects health and property values for all Polk County families!

While Polk County can’t ban these huge hog factories we can pass an ordinance to protect our public health and property values. Bayfield County and the Town of Eureka have done it. Those ordinances are a great model of what Polk County could do.

Here are examples of the many problems with the proposed hog ordinance:

  1. Communities with agricultural zoning or no county zoning are targeted for hog factory development. 

2. Hog factories built in county-zoned agricultural zones can house an infinite number of hogs and their waste just 200 feet from the neighbors.

3. Factories built in towns where there is no zoning have no county regulation at all.

4. No one in Polk County is protected from millions of pounds of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia air pollution that travels for miles.

5. Thousands of composted corpses and placentas don’t even have to be 200 feet from neighbors.

6. No performance bonds are required. That means taxpayers (you and me) will have to pay to clean up polluted water.

7. Application fees are limited to $1,000 even though it will cost county taxpayers many thousands to permit these factories.

Click here to see Polk County’s official ordinance announcement. Click here to see just the proposed ordinance.

Call Your County Supervisor

Call up a ask your supervisor to protect all of Polk County by passing an ordinance like the Town of Eureka has.

Click here to see a map of supervisor districts.

Click here to get contact info for your supervisor.

Eureka Ordinance

Click here to read the innovation ordinance the Town of Eureka has passed to protect public health and property values.

Wan Long, right, Chairman and CEO of WH Group, formerly called Shuanghui International, shakes hands with Charles Larry Pope, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods, at a press conference of WH Group in Hong Kong, China, 14 April 2014.

Why are they building these hog factories?

Hogs raised in factories planned for Polk County will go to a giant processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota run by under the Smithfield Foods name and owned by a Chinese billionaire named Wan Long.

In fact, it is highly likely that Wan Long will also own the thousands of sows in the plants as “operators” turn out millions of pigs a year.

Wan Long is famous with the global billionaire set. In 2017, he made more money than Mark Zuckerburg or Elon Musk!

In 2017 Wan Long made $291 million dollars!

Pork exports to China tripled during April even while Smithfield warned of possible shortages in America. Tell Olson and Nelson we don’t want our kitchens filled with stinky hydrogen sulfide and ammonia air pollution so Wan Long can make another 1/4 billion dollars next year.

Polk County Road I – looking north into stunning Eureka Valley.
North Carolina Livestock Factory.