Letter: Stench from CFO devaluing home

From: Tom Mee


I’ve always lived in the rural area of the county. I grew up on a farm, and my family raised cows, chickens and goats. I have lived around farms all my life. I never had a problem with my neighbors.

Eight years ago I purchased a 3-acre lot in northeast Bartholomew County near Hope to build the home I had always wanted. Before long I noticed a bad smell. These days the smell has gotten so bad that most days I don’t want to go outside. I no longer plan family get-togethers or cookouts because I never know when the smell will just be too awful. The fishing pond I built goes unused. Turkey vultures sit on the roof and cover it and the lawn with their waste.

What I came to learn was that there is a confined feeding operation about one-half mile south with hundreds of animals all crammed into a tiny building with their waste collecting in a pit below. I think people have a lot of nerve calling that farming. It’s a factory. The smell is not only real but unpleasant. It has ammonia and other pollution in it that can hurt your health. It ought to be regulated like it is for other industries, but it isn’t because anything a farmer does can be called farming and then it is protected by law, even if it makes me sick or ruins the value of my home. The turkey vultures wait for the dead pigs. Ten percent of the herd usually die before being hauled off to slaughter.

I could move — I’ve had pro-CFO people yell at me that I should if I’m so bothered by this — but I can’t afford the loss I’d take on the sale. I feel like a prisoner. And the next 2,200 hogs or 4,400 or 8,800 — there’s no limit — that go in near me can be a mere 500 feet from my home. Why aren’t the county commissioners interested in protecting rural property values in Bartholomew County? How is this fair?