The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) several months ago approved construction plans for a 670-acre industrial hog farm near Mt. Judea, Arkansas, that will raise approximately 6,500 hogs each year. The farm is in the watershed of the Buffalo National River. ADEQ did not adequately notify the public of the approval of the farm. No notice appeared in the local papers such as the Harrison Daily News. We certainly don't want to prevent local farmers from making a good living in the Buffalo River watershed; we simply want to know the details about the industrial farm's construction and whether there is any risk to the environment and health of the local residents. Although the ADEQ took into consideration the good record the farm company has with their agency, still the community was not given any appropriate notice so that they could meet and discuss this matter.Even the Buffalo National River supervisors were given no notice of the plans. The ADEQ must be made to halt construction until the public need for more information has been met. We need your help, and quickly.
Approximately 6,500 hogs will be raised on the industrial farm each year. Details of the plan reveal that all the animal waste products will be spread over and around the acreage after it is caught in detention ponds. The resulting run-off after each rainfall will go directly into beautiful Big Creek which borders the property. The run-off will be devastating to the Buffalo National River because Big Creek joins the river only a few miles downstream of the farm's property. The Buffalo River is a designated National River, and was the first to be so designated. The farm will have extremely harmful effects on the pristine river, and it will also harm the drinking water in the residents' wells. The odors and gases emanating from such a large industrial hog farm will affect the health of local residents, and affect the enjoyment of tourists who visit the area. Much research has been done on the health effects from contaminated air for miles surrounding industrial hog farms.
As for economic impacts on this rural community, the area has begun to establish a strong tourism economy. The toxins from the farm will not only affect the natural environment, but will also affect the income of this struggling rural community. Guests who visit from around the country and the world could be greeted by overwhelming odors and noises from the 6,500 animals raised at this farm. Anyone who has driven through the California Central Valley can testify to the stench that can be smelled for miles coming from the industrial hog farms there. We believe our concerns are very natural ones that could have been addressed in a timely manner if proper notice had been given by the ADEQ. If the community had been able to discuss the approval beforehand, we might have been able to put into place a required monitoring of the creeks for any methane or run-off silt, and a required recompense if the cabin rental businesses were affected. Thank you for your consideration of our petition.