Thursday, January 23, 2014

Watershed warrior Carol Bitting response to Cargill official's comments on hog waste in Buffalo River watershed

In response to Mike Martin, Cargill director of communications, [Jan. 8 Independent].
I have searched ADEQ’s website and other documents finding that in 1992 Randy Young, executive director of Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, initiated a study of confined animal operations in the Buffalo River Watershed. Confined animal operations were viewed as one of the greatest potential contributors of bacteria and nutrients in the watershed. The project concentrated on swine operations that the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control & Ecology considered as the more eminent threat to the water quality of the Buffalo River. 
At the time of the project there were 11 permitted hog facilities. Nine of the farms were on the southern edge of the watershed high on the sandstone and shale formation of the Atoka and Bloyd Formation, around 2000 ft. elevation. Two were near but outside the watershed, also high in elevation. There were a total of 3,094 sows in 1994.
C & H Hog Farms is located in the recharge zone of the Springfield Aquifer and isolates 2,500 sows at an approximate elevation of 900 ft. There are three other permitted hog farms in or near the Buffalo River watershed for a combined number of sows at 3,525. The other three farms are located in the Atoka and Bloyd formations on the southern edge of the watershed, high in elevation. 
The Agricultural Statistics Board, NASS USDA, shows that in 1990, on average, a sow produced 13 pigs per breeding animal per year, in 2008 the average pigs per breeding animal increased to 18.7 per year. In 2013 a sow produced 9.90-10.20 pigs per litter in a large operation like C & H’s. 
C & H Hog Farms has the largest concentration of sows in one location in the Buffalo River watershed, it is the only facility ever permitted in the Springfield Aquifer; it has larger amounts of waste per animal due to sow size and litter numbers per sow than 1990 according to statistics; it is spreading untreated manure on fields that have very shallow soils with porous rock outcrops in the middle of winter and the facility itself is within ½ mile of a school and town. The facility is .4 of a mile from Big Creek.
Once there were 11 family jobs now there are four family jobs. 
I urge everyone to please speak out. The air we breathe and the water we drink are the basic elements in our everyday lives. We are the ones to do something to insure our future generations the same values we have known. We have the education and the research has been done, it is time to acknowledge that we make a difference.
Carol Bitting Marble Falls

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