LINDEN — Residents are organizing against plans for a nearly 9,000-head hog operation near Linden, seeking to halt the project until a list of environmental and property value concerns are addressed.
Bowlder Ridge LLC, an apparent subsidiary of Linden-based Hudson Farms, has begun seeking approval to build the confined animal feeding operation near the farm’s offices on North C.R. 150E just south of C.R. 950N.
Plans call for two barns each holding 4,400 finishing swine, according to a permit request filed with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The manure would be spread on Hudson-owned land. A third building is planned for composting dead swine.
The neighborhood is the wrong place for housing so many animals, says nearby residents.
“I’d like to be able to step out on my deck and drink a cup of coffee and not listen to hogs squeal,” said Monty Eldridge, who is organizing a coalition of affected homeowners.
Eldridge and about 15 other residents who live within two miles of the pending project gathered in the Linden park Tuesday to study maps of the site and begin a petition drive.
Noise and odor from the CAFO, neighbors say, would threaten property values.
“[The Hudsons] said there’s going to be no odor,” said Marvin Swick, whose home sits less than a mile from the planned CAFO. “I said, ‘Are you sure?’”
Residents also say the project would increase traffic on poorly maintained gravel roads and worsen persistent drainage problems in the area.
The manure would be stored in deep reinforced concrete pits beneath slotted floors. The roof and exterior grading of the mortality compost barn will be designed to ensure clean storm water does not run-on, according to the permit request.
Chris Hudson, who filed the permit application, said he was unavailable for comment.
“We are currently working around the clock to get a record late crop prepared and planted,” Hudson said in email. “I would be happy to answer questions and visit neighbor concerns if they contact me directly, as many landowners and neighbors already have.”
IDEM is currently seeking public comment on the application. Once the permit is granted, the project has to be approved by county commissioners before construction can begin.
The current lack of CAFO regulations in Montgomery County could work in the neighborhood’s favor, said Bonnie Woods, a CAFO opponent advising the coalition.
In 2015, Woods began leading a group of neighbors that stopped a CAFO project in White County.
“Because there’s nothing in the ordinances governing confined feeding operations, but there is … in regards to the windmills … [the county] is obligated to do the same thing for confined feeding operations,” Woods said.
The county may soon weigh in. During a meeting about the proposed zoning ordinance last week, Plan Commission president John Frey said language would later be added to regulate CAFOs.
One other local CAFO project is pending. In March, Kyle Kessler filed a permit request for an operation that will hold up to 17,200 nursery pigs or up to 8,600 finishing hogs at C.R. 200E and C.R. 700S near Ladoga.