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In central Utah, residents protest a large-scale hog farm that wants to move in

Posted at 10:18 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 00:18:30-05

DELTA, Utah — Dozens packed a public meeting to protest a proposed large-scale hog farm in central Utah.

During a sometimes contentious, hours-long public meeting, residents largely spoke out against a proposal by Pumbaa Farms to build a farm about nine miles west of the town of Hinckley.

“If we open this door to allow his hog farm to come in, I don’t want to be known as the swine capital of the country,” said Teresa Martin.

The Millard County Commission held a public hearing on Thursday night to hear residents out about a proposed zone change from a range and farmland area to an agricultural industrial area. Residents expressed concerns about water contamination, odors, disease and traffic.

“We’re here because this place is beautiful and then we sacrifice it for operations that provide seven, 10, 15 jobs,” said Steve Brown.

Others worried this was the beginning of even bigger factory farms moving in with ties overseas. Many invoked the large-scale Circle 4 hog farms in Beaver and Iron counties and questioned if it had ties to that.

“This is not a corporate farm. It’s a family farm,” said Steele Weston of Pumbaa Farms. “I own it.”

Weston said his initial proposal would be for seven bars with as many as 4,400 pigs inside. He said it could be good for Millard County, bringing in millions of dollars in income for the communities. Weston said it would employ seven people at $60,000 a year and, he argued, it would be a good livelihood.

Some residents did express support for his farm.

“Can you feed America in downtown Salt Lake?” said Jared Buhler, the president of Millard County’s Farm Bureau. “We’re an agricultural community.”

Weston insisted waste and odor would not be a problem as his farm would use the latest technology to control problems. Manure from the farm would also be sold to local farmers.

“The closest we are located to any township is 9.54 miles away,” Weston said.

The Millard County Commission will decide whether to grant the zoning change next week. If they do, resident Steve Maxfield threatened a citizen referendum to challenge the decision.