The Story County Board of Supervisors delayed a decision on a recommendation to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on a plan for a new hog confinement building in northeast Story County.
The Lincoln Feeders facility, 71550 100th St., between Zearing and Hubbard, currently holds 4,000 hogs. The new building would increase that to 7,200.
The board members said there needed to be some clarification on some parts of the application process, including the ability to have a truck turnaround, its manure processing, need to account for alluvial soil, which is a loose but very fertile soil, and proximity to nearby buildings.
The new structure calls for the use of the DNRs’ master matrix, which scores the company on its practices and impact on the surrounding area.
The applicant that scored 480 on the matrix, scored 430 when scored by officials of Story County — 10 points short of the 440 necessary to pass.
They came up short on having a truck turnaround that was 120 feet in diameter, and providing adequate documentation about its incorporation of manure the same day it is applied to the land.
Story County Environmental Health Director Margaret Jaynes said she needed more documentation than was provided to show the company’s history and how it is currently doing.
Harold Walter, owner of Lincoln Feeders with Keaton Woster, said the drive space available around the facility will still allow plenty of room for trucks to back up and not have to back up on the road.
Seth Wengert, of Maschhoff Environmental, a pork production company based in Illinois, who spoke first for the owners, said that they can provide documentation about the manure issue.
"I’m saying what DNR’s expectation is for these points to get rewarded, to me, it looks like they’re meeting what DNR says, but I just want to be sure that that’s the case," said Rick Sanders, chairman of the board of supervisors.
There were several people at the meeting who voiced concerns about expanding the facility.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement had a large turnout, and several of its local members asked the board to vote against the proposed building.
Brenda Brink of Huxley, and a CCI member, spoke against it, raising concerns about manure from the facility getting into the water system.
Jack Troeger, of Ames, said the environment needs to come first.
"This state has been altered too much already," he said.
The presence of alluvial soil also caused concern. The first two structures, which are built on the soil, were constructed in 1997 before rules for building on the soil arrived. The proposed building is not directly on the soil, but Jaynes said her answer from the DNR on whether the soil needed to be taken into account when considering possible runoff was not clear enough.
The facilities proximity to nearby structures is also uncertain. Whether it falls as too close to some needs to be more precise.
"They have complied with the rules that are in place," said Supervisor Wayne Clinton. "While I’d be reluctant, I’ve always supported moving forward. My concern here is that currently, there is still a 10 point differential in [Jaynes’] mind based upon the information that has been presented. That’s problematic to me."
Jaynes said she’s willing to accept changes to the application.
The board acknowledged receiving the manure management plan, but held off on recognizing the construction proposal until its next meeting on Sept. 17.