Foes decry planned hog farm
WAGNER - Opponents of a planned hog confinement near Wagner waved protest signs and vented their frustrations Monday night at a meeting with the project's supporters.
More than 500 Yankton Sioux tribal members and Charles Mix County residents showed up at Wagner's National Guard Armory to hear presentations from the Long View Farm's project engineer, manager and others. The Iowa-based Long View Farm is planning a 3,400-head hog confinement southwest of Wagner on property surrounded by areas of tribal land. Protesters have been at the site for more than a week as construction crews have worked.
While those representing the hog farm spoke Monday, some tribal members in the audience held signs that read, "Stop lying," "Put It In YOUR Backyard," and "No HOGS!"
Some Lake Andes children wore T-shirts that read, "Kids 4 Clean Air" and carried signs such as, "Protect Our Future," and "We Say No to Pollution Go Back to Iowa."
Long View Farms is composed of 11 farm families in northwest Iowa, said Jeff Kayser, production manager for Suidae, the company that will manage many of the day-to-day operations at the farm. He told the crowd that the operation originally was to be 5,870 sows, but last winter investors opted to reduce the operation's size to 3,400 head to meet their immediate pig-flow needs. The site near Wagner was chosen from 11 in Iowa and South Dakota.
Todd Van Maanen of Eisenbraun and Associates engineering firm in Yankton outlined the farm's operating practices. He said it would be clean and the operation would not move toward Marty.
Van Maanen said the farm would cost $6 million to build, with $1 million a year on feed, with other economic benefits to the area. The farm would employ 12 employees, who would receive benefits. It is scheduled be finished in January.
A Rosebud Sioux tribal member, Claudette Arcoren, spoke against the operation. During the question-and-answer part of the meeting, she said that when developers put up a hog confinement operation on the Rosebud reservation, they promised jobs and to give money to the tribal council.
Since then, they have used up much of the water, she said.
"They are leasing land for $1 a year," she said. "Sometimes, our homes run dry. You think it's clean. It isn't clean."
When tribal members cheered Arcoren's speech, Kayser threatened to leave. But John Stone, vice chairman of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said Arcoren is a respected tribal elder and pointed out that it was the audience members' turn to speak.
Brad Greenway, a rural Mitchell hog producer, spoke in defense of the operation. He showed photos of how his family hog operation expanded and explained how it worked.
"This is on my land," he said. "My children are here. We are breathing the same water and same air."
Chad Kreeger, whose land is a half-mile from the site, expressed concern about the effect of his property value.
Izzy Zephier of Marty, an opponent of the project, said the protest will continue.
When the meeting ended about 9:30 p.m., some law enforcement officers escorted the project's supporters out of the armory's gym through a back entrance.
Reach Melanie Brandert at 977-3926.