By Crystal Howerton
Knox County Commissioners have granted New Generation Pork, LLC, Steven Miller, owner, construction permits for two Class II CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), to be located south of Knox City.
Each permit encompasses one hog barn containing 4,980 hogs or 1992 AU (animal units) and a concrete pit located approximately one mile south of Knox City. The Commission issued county construction permits after obtaining construction permits from the Department of Natural Resources issued on September 27, 2007, permits which were, according to Presiding Commissioner L.P. (Pete) Mayfield, late in arriving.
During the public hearing in the Circuit Court of October 1, Commissioner Mayfield drew attention to the DNR permits, stating, "Miller told us that those permits would be on my desk a week ago. Because we have not been given adequate time to look over them and pass them on to our lawyer, approval of the county construction permits will not be granted today, but postponed indefinitely."
However, after reviewing the DNR permits, as well as a land survey conducted by Klingner and Associates on April 9, 2007 and manure spreading agreements, the Commission granted the county health permits on Friday, October 5. "Having received all the pertinent information, Miller is within his rights and abiding by the health regulations set forth in the Knox County Health Ordinance; the Commission had no alternative but to issue the permits," said Commissioner Mayfield.
Over fifty community members attended the hearing of October 5th, voicing their opinions for or against this swine operation and other CAFO's in the area. The majority were not in favor of CAFO's, stating health concerns, water pollution and odor, as well as well as anticipating property value decline and their quality of life being affected, however a handful of Knox City residents attended in support of the Miller family, stating that they have not been affected by odor from the existing CAFO and do not feel that their health is at risk.