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In Millard County, residents push ballot initiative to block large-scale hog farms

Posted at 2:04 PM, Dec 05, 2019

FILLMORE, Utah — Residents in Millard County are launching a ballot initiative to block large-scale hog farms from moving in.

It follows opposition to a farm that sought to build near the town of Hinckley. The Millard County Commission rejected a zoning change, then recently implemented a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations, the Millard Chronicle-Progress reported.

David and Holly Remkes are sponsoring “It’s Our Future,” a ballot initiative seeking to ban large-scale hog farms in Millard County.

Opponents of concentrated animal feeding operations point to environmental and quality of life problems.

“We don’t want to scare away future growth by having a lot of pollution in our groundwater and our air,” said David Remkes. “We want to protect our way of life and our quality of life.”

The Utah Farm Bureau said it would oppose such a ballot initiative, believing it goes too far. Bureau President Ron Gibson said Thursday he believed it was “an attack on private property rights.”

“They’re basically making it so no new animal agriculture can be started,” Gibson said of the initiative.

He feared that with some counties already taking steps to block large-scale farming operations, it could harm Utah’s agricultural industry.

“This is the second county that has made ridiculous zoning ordinances towards agriculture,” Gibson told FOX 13. “What kind of precedent does this state for the rest of the counties?”

Holly Remkes said she is not opposed to farms, but operations of this scale.

“We want farming. We just don’t want to pose a threat to our way of life and our health,” she told FOX 13.

If the group “It’s Our Future” can gather 900 signatures by the deadline, they can qualify for the November 2020 ballot.