Letter: CAFO ordinance does not make sense for county

From: Liz Brownlee


I’m a farmer. My husband and I raise animals on pasture and sell pork, chicken, lamb and turkey at Columbus farmers markets and to a chef in Columbus.

I am pro-farm (obviously — it’s part of how I make my living), but I am against the proposed CFO/CAFO ordinance that the Bartholomew County Commissioners are considering. This ordinance does not make sense for Bartholomew County, for farmers like me or for the majority of residents.

The commissioners’ job is to work for the public good, but this ordinance benefits a few at the expense of the many (children, seniors, property owners, etc.).

This ordinance would significantly reduce property values of neighbors. It’s important to remember that the commissioners are bound by Indiana Code to not allow an ordinance that drastically reduces property values of neighbors.

I call on the commissioners to consider the tax-base implications of CFOs/CAFOs. County tax revenues will decrease because of decreased property values — and that decrease will far outweigh the increase from a CFO/CAFO.

Any setbacks made should follow the Heber model. Why? Because it was funded by both pro- and anti-CAFO advocates and provides a reliable model for setbacks. Those setbacks should take into account the number of animals placed near a home. The setbacks should also be measured from a neighbor’s property line, not the home. And, of course, the setback should not be based on the size of the neighbor’s property.

Last but not least, I call on the commissioners to schedule your public hearings at a time and place where large numbers of citizens can realistically attend.

Thank you for providing a space for the community to discuss this important issue.