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Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007 11:44 pm

Swine time

Foiled farmer appeals to higher court for relief

Untitled Document The neighborly feud over the Buckhart hog containment facility could be finished by Thanksgiving — or not.      Thomas J. Immel, attorney for farmer Bob Young, last week filed a brief asking the state appellate court to vacate the May 30 preliminary injunction applied by Sangamon Circuit Court Judge Leslie Graves, which halted construction of the swine-fattening facility.      Young and his wife, Sandy, had already completed about one-third of the work in building a shed designed to hold 3,750 hogs and digging a pit designed to hold 224,000 cubic feet of hog excrement when the injunction suspended that activity at the request of the Rochester Buckhart Action Group, or RBAG, a group of area residents fearful that the hog farm will diminish their property values [see “Raising a stink,” May 17]. The Youngs had a contract with Cargill, which would supply the baby pigs and all the food and medications needed to fatten them for market.      RBAG’s attorney, Patrick Shaw, will file his response brief today (Sept. 20). Immel will then have seven days to respond. After that, a three-judge appellate panel could hear oral arguments, as Immel has requested, but probably not until November. The court isn’t bound by any timetable to issue a ruling on Young’s appeal.      The central issue is whether the swine facility constitutes a “new” or “expanded” facility. The Illinois Department of Agriculture issued Young a permit to build the shed as an expansion of his existing 40-head dairy cattle operation. Warren Goetsch, the official who approved that permit, agreed in a recent deposition that allowing a dairy farm to “expand” into a swine containment facility was one of “lots of things associated with this particular project that may be somewhat unique.”
New facilities are subject to a public hearing process, more stringent setback requirements and location standards regarding environmental concerns.
Contact Dusty Rhodes at drhodes@illinoistimes.com.
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