Greene County CAFO owner wants to swap trees for hog bodies

Neighbors who fight CAFOs “truly don’t understand what’s going on,” consultant claims

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Greene County CAFO owner Eric Chrystal, doing business as Greene County Pigs LLC, wants to swap composting hog carcasses for a line of trees at his confinement on County Road E-57 just one-half mile west of Iowa Highway 4 in Franklin Township.

Eric Chrystal, doing business as Greene County Pigs LLC, wants to swap composting hog carcasses for a line of trees at his CAFO on County Road E-57 just one-half mile west of Iowa Highway 4 in Franklin Township. The request requires a public hearing, which the Greene County supervisors have slated for Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.

It will be the second public hearing for an expansion at that site. Last March Chrystal submitted a master matrix that scored a total of 450 points. He claimed 30 points for planning to compost carcasses. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved the construction permit, and Chrystal built the new building immediately north of his existing building.

Before populating the building, Chrystal decided to make a change, deducting the 30 points for composting but adding 20 points for planting trees, bringing the master matrix to 440 points.

Becky Sexton of Twin Lakes Environmental, the consultant that prepared Chrystal’s master matrix and manure management plan, spoke for Chrystal Sept. 6, when the supervisors reviewed the revised master matrix.

She said it’s “sad” that the change in plans requires another public hearing because of the additional cost to Chrystal, adding that “if there’s another public hearing it makes it hard on the neighbors, because they truly don’t understand what’s going on.”

Sexton said Chrystal decided it was more economical to plant trees than to compost carcasses. She provided no information about mortality rates or how often a rendering company would pick up the carcasses. A dumpster is already in place at the site, within easy view of County Road E-57.

Before discussing the specifics of the change, Sexton and Greene County Board of Supervisors Chair John Muir chatted about the master matrix.

Sexton said she knows there are things people would like to change in the matrix, but people misunderstand it.

“When people say there’s 880 points available, we all know that’s not true,” Sexton said. “It’s very sad for people who don’t truly understand the matrix, because they think you can get 880 points, but . . . you can’t do that. It’s cute when they say that, but it really doesn’t work that way.”

Sexton said she would not be a likely person to serve on a committee to revise the matrix.

“They wouldn’t want me on that committee,” she said. “I stand for agriculture, so a lot of people don’t like me because I do believe in family agriculture.”

She added that because her husband is a politician – Mike Sexton serves in the Iowa House, representing District 10 – she would not be asked to serve on the committee.

The Greene County Pigs LLC CAFO is located on County Road E-57 just west of Highway 4.
The Greene County Pigs LLC CAFO is located on County Road E-57 just west of Highway 4.

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