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Big Sandy Creek - Hog Factory approval

Mark Durham

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The IDOA’s Hog Factory approval stinks!


An abomination is about to be unleashed upon one of the last best places left in central Illinois! Due to the recent permit approval by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, (IDOA), with its seriously unregulated and antiquated laws, a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), could be built just 2,000 feet up hill from our beautiful and beloved Big Sandy Creek. This CAFO facility is the contrivance of Iowa based investors, VMC Management Corp, and will be known as Sandy Creek Lane, LLC. (limited liability corporation)


This CAFO (Mega Hog Factory), puts Big Sandy Creek in major jeopardy. The pristine little stream is filled with sensitive aquatic life, numerous species of fresh water fish, including the gamiest of them all, the Smallmouth Bass, which is listed by the department of natural resources as "A Species In Most Need Of Conservation". The Creek flows through a lush and verdant, paradise like valley, it's ecosystem harboring countless species of flora and fauna. It's head waters start just west of Wenona, accepting many confluences from the surrounding area on its meandering westerly journey, eventually emptying its clean, clear water into the Illinois River near Henry.


To say this IDOA permit approval is a travesty is a "Mega" understatement! We formed a group called "SOS" (Save Our Sandy), in April 2014 when we first heard of this proposal. We took our opposition public at every opportunity; attending parades and festivals, handing out brochures, posting signs, creating a Website, (http://www.friendsofsandycreek.com/), and a Facebook site ("Local Farms Not Factories - Citizens against proposed Wenona CAFO"), for public awareness and information. Our Marshall County Board Members voiced their opposition and voted 11 to 1 against the proposal. We sent a petition to the Governor, wrote letters, and reached out to every associated politician we could for help, all seemingly, to no avail! In spite of all of our efforts, and all of the area wide opposition, the IDOA approved the proposed Mega Hog Factory, giving real meaning to a quote "Illinois Government…Of The People, By The People, For The Pigs".


We say "Mega" Hog Factory because Sandy Creek Lane, LLC would have you believe otherwise with their tireless PR efforts by their "Pro Ag Spinster" supported by corporate advertising money, spreading their pig propaganda like they spread their manure, painting a rosy little picture of the prosperous CAFO business, and it's healthy environment, filled with rainbows and butterflies, where children happily play amongst the baby piglets on grampa's family farm, all the while propping up the world's economy via "Big AG". This kind of farm has become virtually extinct today due to the overly aggressive and greed driven agenda of the modern day CAFO Industry. These CAFO's in no way resemble a classic "family farm" that once raised much of our country's livestock. Make no mistake, they are factories, (mostly unregulated ones at that). Their main objective is producing mass quantity, for mass profit, often by exporting their products to foreign countries like China at the expense of our local resources. I hate to sound like a fear-monger but these are the facts; This facility will house approximately 20,000 sows and pigs, producing an estimated 10,000,000 gallons of liquid manure containing hazardous toxins and pathogens that will be spread up and down the valley creating potential health issues far beyond the Big Sandy Creek area. The smell will be unbearably atrocious for miles around! Outdoor quality of life for neighbors anywhere near the area will be nonexistent. Local property values will plummet. The Creek itself will be in constant jeopardy of mass pollution and contamination, as will the Illinois River, not if, but when their uncontrolled manure run-off and/or accidental manure spills occur, as they plan to spread their millions of gallons of waste into and on the ground of over 1,000 acres of the surrounding farmland, potentially destroying all water recreation such as canoeing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, wading, fishing, etc.; activities which have been enjoyed by many for generations.


The injustice of the approval of this CAFO which is about to be forced upon the good people of Marshall County against their will is tragic for people, livestock, and wildlife. Unfortunately the Illinois Department of Agriculture is working within the current antiquated laws of the State, which were written decades ago to protect family farms, inadequate laws that are now used to the advantage of Big Ag to establish and protect their growth agenda across this country. Meanwhile the track record of the CAFO Industry nation-wide is deplorable. The evidence, and the connection between antibiotic resistant diseases, (like MRSA), as related to CAFO’s is mounting. These laws must be changed now! The power to prevent this type of injustice must be decided, and governed at more local levels by the people that stand the most to lose, like us and you, the people most affected by their outcome. If this can happen here, to us, our friends, families, neighbors, and our environment, you and yours may be next. We've worked closely with the Prairie Rivers Network (www.prairierivers.org), throughout this ordeal. They and their partners are working tirelessly on the problem. They have introduced a bill that will improve the siting and management of factory farms in Illinois. YOUR HELP IS NEEDED - Please contact them, and your state representative and ask him or her to support House Bill 5637. Together we have a fighting chance to change all our futures, to stop CAFO's from being built where they are not prudent, not wanted, and not welcome.

Thank you, Mark "SOS"





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Be sure to follow the link in the article here, as well as paying attention to the big picture. Where there is a will, there is a way!


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