County Unanimously OK’s Uniontown Hog CAFO

At nearly 1:30 a.m. last Wednesday morning-after nearly 6-hours of allowing supporters and opponents have their say- a Seymour family got approval for their proposed confined hog feeding operation west of Uniontown in Vernon Township.

The Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-0 to grant a special exception for Kyle and Leah Broshears of Broshears Family Farm LLC, allowing the couple to pursue state approval for the 4,000-head feeder-to-finish confined hog operation.

The Seymour couple’s proposed CAFO, if eventually approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, will be set on 10 acres northwest of county roads 1050E and 200S near Uniontown north of State Road 250.

The BZA board decided the couple’s proposed operation exceeds current requirements-setbacks of 300 feet and at least three acres- and is in an area zoned for agricultural use.

An overflow crowd which filled the Jackson County Courtroom in Brownstown and spilled out into the hallway.

Kyle & Leah Broshears, who grew up in farm families, outlined their operation and answered questions asked by the board.

They, along with their agricultural consultant Carrie Keller Steele, said the approximately $900,000 operation would be built on property currently being bought on contract by Leah Broshears’ parents, Max and Brenda Klosterman. A purchase agreement from Klostersmans to Broshears for 10 acres would be signed if the BZA approves their special exception, she said.

The family, which will have a contract with Jackson Jennings Co-op, will construct an 81-by-417 foot building to house the feeder-to-finish hog operation. Manure will be stored in a concrete pit that holds about 1 million gallons. That manure will be injected into fields owned by the couple and their extended families.

The couple said the entrance to the proposed operation along County Road 1050E will see an average of three to four trucks per week.

In addition, they said the feed for the swine will contain an odor-reducing additive, and the building will be located at the farthest point possible to maximize setback distances from the closest residence.

“The feed additive is effective to reduce odors about 25%,” said Broshears.

The property on two sides of the building is enrolled in a government-protected woodlands program and can never be developed for residential use, and the property is surrounded by trees, Broshears said.

He said he intends to build an earthen berm that will cause water to flow away from the wetland area.

Broshears said the facility will be subject to bienniel reviews to maintain sound environmental and production practices.

The family told the board they will not live on the grounds and will stay in Seymour. They said they will not be using biofilters.

Bridges asked about the biofilters because she said they would be a plus for those living around them.

“I think it’s just being a good neighbor,” she said.

“I’m not saying they don’t work,” Broshears said. “We feel the feed additive will exceed the need for bio-filters.”

Max Klosterman, father of Leah Broshears and who would be selling 10 acres to his daughter and son-in-law, said about a third of the manure produced by the operation would be applied to local fields as a fertilizer. “The rest would need to be trucked to other fields for application,” he said.

Broshears said that manure hauling would occur for “short durations once or twice a year, depending on the weather.” He added that semi tankers carrying 6,000 gallons would truck manure to farm locations for injecting into fields. “Nearly all hog producers truck manure then inject it inches below the soil surface to decrease odor,” he said.

About 10 supporters came forward and spoke on the behalf of the couple, complimenting the family on their hard work and commitment to farming and other endeavors in their lives, including Kyle Broshears’ trucking company and Leah Broshears’ work as a nurse.

Supporters said they didn’t see any health concerns or downfalls to the production, don’t believe a CAFO will decrease property value for surrounding residents and hope to see pork production and farming increase.

Opponents, however, disagreed with some of those statements. Many opponents were a part of ‘HUBERT,’ which stands for Help Us Build Ethical Rural Trust, an homage to Hubert Brumett, 92-year-old neighbor with respiratory problems who lives near the proposed hog farm.

Trina McLain, who opened up the discussion in opposition, lives a quarter-mile from the proposed site. She cited health concerns, material harm and impact on quality of life for about 485 homes in that area.

“This is a very populated area, and most of these homes will be downwind from this site,” she said.

Opponents took the podium and spoke for hours, referring to other factors, such as odors, truck traffic and water contamination to wells and the nearby Muscatatuck River from stored manure.

Neighbor John Rothring, the former BZA attorney, reminded the board that they could deny a petition for special exception, according to the county’s Master Zoning Plan, if it will materially injure neighbors. He told the board that appraisals on his property show that it would decrease 40% with a CAFO nearby. “That’s a $50,000 hit if you let them in. That is material injury,” he said.

Several others spoke to decreased property values and presented real estate appraisals to the BZA.

Eric Hilton, who plans to build a mile away from the CAFO on US 31, said the operation will greatly affect the amount of a mortgage loan his family could receive from the bank.

Hilton said that his appraisal with a CAFO nearby came in $33,000 less. “My building costs didn’t decrease but because of the appraisal, my bank now wants more money up front to approve the loan.”

Some residents spoke of current health problems and the impact of the CAFO could have and expressed worries for their children or family members and how it could affect them.

Drs. Chad Smith and Wes Whittler said that the community had seen an increase is MRSA infections. MRSA is a bacterial infection which is resistant to drug treatment. Smith, a resident of the area, cited a journal of American Medicine Association study which showed residents living near CAFO’s have a 38% greater risk of contracting MRSA because of manure applied to fields.

“We’re not attacking agriculture or family farming as a way of making a living,” said Whittler. “That’s never been a problem. The problem is transiting to the factory farm and finding an appropriate location.”

After allowing everyone who wanted to speak their three-minute say, the BZA noting that the application exceeds current county setbacks, minimum acreage and is going into an area zone agricultural, voted unanimously to approve the Broshears Family Farm LLC petition.

The next step for the Broshearses will be to survey and deed off the appropriate parcel. Then they will make their application with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“This is a lengthy process that usually takes several months,” Broshears said. “Once IDEM approval is in place, we would hope to begin construction next spring or summer.”


Conservation Club To Hold Final Fish Fry Of The Year

The Tri-County Conservation Club their final Fish Fry of the year this Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu will consist of fish sandwiches for $3.50, chili for $1.50, french fries for $1.50, desserts for $1.50 and drinks for 50¢. Call in orders will be taken from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. by calling 498-4447 or 498-4448.

The club is located at 8705 E 800 S southwest of Crothersville.

They’re H-e-r-e!

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

It was a warm fall afternoon following some recent seasonably cooler temperatures. I was sitting on my front porch shelling out some hickory nuts in anticipation of making some coming holiday pies. I was concentrating on the slow, methodical manual nutmeat extraction when I heard what I thought was rain falling. Looking up I saw it was just a gust of wind that had started a plethora of leaves falling to the earth and striking the metal shed roof making the sound of gentle rain falling.

But before I returned to my nutty processes, I spied them.

Like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano, annual migration of salmon swimming upstream to spawn, or even the return of the 17-year-locust, I determined that they had arrived.

Ladybugs and Asian beetles were swarming about the metal shed. Disturbed from their summer haunts by changing sunlight, or fluctuating temperatures, or having their food source harvested by nearby farmers, the aphid eating beetles were looking for a place to winter over.

Ladybugs are a small red with black spots insect that is a natural predator of soft bodied plant eating insects. Their cousin Asian beetles-imported to help control crop pests- are a dull orange and may or may not have some dark spots.

Neither are really all that harmful but a nuisance. Though my friend Joe once received several bites from the Asian beetles. So be mindful.

Staying in the metal shed is fine by me as opposed to trying to stay in the house with me. I had already used a home insect spray around the windows and doors. It’s one of the variety of water-based home insect sprays for roaches, ants and other crawling creatures available at the hardware or big box store.

From experience I have learned that ladybugs can crawl in the smallest of holes and cracks and they leave a scent which tells their friends to follow them to winter safety. You can seal you house as tightly as you can, but ladybugs will get in.

My solution is to spray around all windows and doors both inside and out. The beetles that find an opening and crawl across the invisible barrier are found dead within a foot of the door or window.

But the rascals still get in flying through an open door as Charley or I enter or exit. They generally congregate by a ceiling light so a flay swatter takes care of the few fly-ins.

A problem is that when I bring wood in from the metal shed storage for the fireplace this winter, I must check the bark and secret hiding places for hibernating beetles and bang the wood together to dislodge them.

But for now the warm weather swarming must be tolerated knowing that with cooler temperatures, the ladybugs will find a hiding place for the winter.



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Trash Fees, Town Wages Going Up Next Year

The amount Crothersville residents pay for trash pickup and recycling could be increasing next year due to a new contract the Crothers-ville Town Council approved with Rumpke at their regular meeting on Oct. 7.
Rumpke increased its charges to $9.47 a month per household for 2015 & 2016, up from the current $9.12 per month for the past three years.
Currently Crothersville residents pay $9.50 per month on their water and sewer bill for trash collection and bi-weekly recycling pick-up.
“That 3¢ difference won’t be enough to pay for the twice yearly large trash pickup,” said council president Ardell Mitchell. “We will be looking at an increase in trash collection fees to residents sometime in 2015.”
Another thing that will increase in 2015 is wages paid to town employees. Town workers will be receiving a 50¢ an hour increase is pay on Jan. 1.
The office manager/first deputy will be paid $14.50 per hour; the second deputy will be paid $10.75 per hour.
The chief of police will be paid $17.25 per hour, senior patrolman $12.75 and patrolman $12.00 per hour.
The sewer superintendent will be paid $18.50; street/water superintendent will be paid $16.25 per hour. Skilled full time utility workers will receive $14 per hour and unskilled part-time utilities workers will be paid $7.50 beginning in 2015.
The council heard a progress report from Brad Bender of FPBH, the town’s engineering firm, on the Industrial Way road expansion.
“Earth work is to start Monday (Oct. 13),” Bender said concerning the roadway which will connect the town’s industrial park to South Kovener Street.
The road construction will add a much needed additional entrance and exit to the industrial park that currently can only be accessed over an unmarked railroad crossing west of US 31. Officials have for some time been concerned for safety and emergency vehicle access to the manufacturing plants in the event of a railroad accident.
The recently announced Aisin Chemical Indiana expansion prompted the road extension.
Town officials briefly discussed the naming of the expansion. It was agreed that the east-west portion of the roadway would continued to be called Industrial Way while the north-south portion would be a continuation of South Kovener Street.
In another update, clerk-treasurer Terry Richey told the council that she continues to obtain information to allow the town to accept credit & debit cards for utility payments.
“Some credit card services we have looked at would charge us a dollar or two per transaction, but is zero cost to the town,” she said. “I really like that.”
She said the firm, which is used by Jackson County, would provide a card swipe reader and that the cost of the transaction would be added to the customer’s bill at the time of payment.
She said she is continuing to check on if can accept electronic payments through the town’s website.
In a final matter, the council designated the local trick or treat night on Friday, Oct. 31, from 6-8 p.m.

Lions Club To Discuss Holiday Fruit Sale

The Crothersville Lions Club will meet next Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Crothersville VFW Family Room. Plans for the annual holiday fruit sales and participation in the “Christmas in the ‘Ville: program will be finalized. Other topics to be discussed include membership and local service projects.
For more information about the local Lions Club call 793-2760 or 793-2012.