Reader is tired of confinement stink


To the editor:

I am writing this because I am tired of the confinement stink.

Three years ago, Kent Scheib built two massive hog confinements one mile southwest of my farm. The following year he wanted to build a third. The three of these are just into Guthrie County, so I went to the Guthrie County Board of Supervisors meeting. I wanted a row of trees or something to be done about the smell.

Shortly after the meeting, I got a call from Kent Scheib. He wanted to talk to me about this. So I met with him and told him my problems with the smell already. I said the Master Matrix for hog confinements shows planting a row or two of trees can help reduce odors a lot by getting the air flow up.

Kent thought that might work, and I gave him a nursery catalog I had bought trees from in the past that had good trees and cheap prices. I told Kent I would help plant them and see if I could borrow a tree planter I knew of.

I told Kent, Let’s find out your planter width so we can plan these rows either two or four planters’ width away from the building to make it easier to plant around. I said I would water them the first two years to make sure they got established and would pay for half the trees if that would help.

Kent thought that seemed good until the morning of the supervisors’ vote on his new building. He then told me, No, he wasn’t going to plant any trees now. So we went to the supervisors’ meeting, and I told them what Kent and I had been talking about with trees, and I said I wanted that as part of the building permit.

The supervisors told me with the Master Matrix System all they can do is vote on whether it meets the points and even if they vote no, it still gets approved. But they agreed with me it was reasonable for him to have to do something to try to cut the smell, so they voted unanimously that Scheib should put a row of trees on the north and west sides of the buildings. Then they voted on the Master Matrix points.

Kent came up to me after the vote and said he has to deal with the Tyson Fresh Meats smell in Perry at times, too, and I said, Yes, but they spend thousands to try to reduce that smell, and you will not do a thing.

I said he should put up a large metal fence then to push the air up or vent it out the top instead of the sides to get the air up. Kent just walked off.

Now they want to expand the two buildings to the east by building a third that produces 7,200 more head of hogs a year.

I took a picture of the buzzards around the place on July 2 this year and include it.

Don’t take my word. Just drive by it with the air conditioning on and the windows up, and it is still a gagging smell.

The Dallas County Board of Supervisors public hearing on this is Thursday, July 16 at 7 p.m. at 902 Court St.  in Adel.

Jeff Rosener, Jamaica


  1. I am not a farmer, just a grandmother living in Perry who wants safe, affordable food AND a healthy environment for my (and everyone’s) family. I’ve done some reading on this and don’t understand why trees aren’t utilized a LOT more. A Spring 2014 newsletter from “The Green Network” who partners with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers and Trees Forever, both of which are partners with the Iowa Farm Bureau, reports “ISU research has shown that trees can reduce odor by 10-15%. The leaves on the trees capture some odor particles and prevent them from leaving.” (nature’s air filters at work!) “The remaining odor is forced to go up over the trees to escape.” The newsletter also explains benefits of a windbreak, energy conservation, and the improved visual aesthetics. Driving on our Iowa roads, you see many farmsteads and livestock operations with trees and you hardly notice what’s behind them. The ones without the trees are a stark contrast.

    • Robin, the groups you mention are about profit and greed, not doing the right thing. Your allegiance is in the wrong court if you want what you say you want.

  2. An additional concern I have about this expansion is the manure management plan. The waste will be spread on some fields close by that front a creek. There does not appear to be any buffer strip between the land where the application will occur and the creek. We’ve all seen the many examples so far this year of how rain can wash nutrients downstream. This waste will probably be knifed in, but if a saturated soil condition occurs, some will work its way to the surface. A buffer strip is not a cure all, but it will improve the outcome. I know there is a cost associated with a buffer strip. As a Dallas SWCD commissioner, I work with farmers and landowners to help them implement strategies that will work to protect Iowa’s waters through erosion and nutrient control measures and windbreaks. There are limited dollars each year, and the landowner has to have skin in the game. Even when the legislature allocates additional funding for conservation measures, it is typical that the governor will veto the appropriation. It’s hard for the DNR and IDALS when they don’t get any funding to help landowners.

  3. Paul Petitti at the DNR told me that if someone is taking – and getting – points for doing something specific in their Master Matrix, then the CAFO owner is obligated to follow through. Most of the time you don’t know if the CAFO owner is doing everything they say on the Master Matrix but it’s sure obvious if they are supposed to plant trees and they don’t.

    If Scheib got points for trees, then he should be putting in trees – at his expense. If the Matrix did call for trees, then you can file a complaint with the DNR and see if you can get him to plant them. You were kind and generous to offer to pay and care for them. It’s a shame Scheib didn’t have enough integrity to follow through.


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