Gelfius Farms, located in Clifty Township in eastern Bartholomew County, recently opened its doors for a public tour of its new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) on East County Road 200N. The gesture wasn’t necessary, but certainly is appreciated.
That’s because Bartholomew County’s ninth CAFO was central to a multi-year debate about whether regulations concerning such animal operations locally needed to be changed.
When Bill Gelfius opened the doors to the operation Feb. 22 — two days before the first batch of 4,400 hogs arrived — it marked about three years from submission of his original proposal for the CAFO near Hartsville to finally open.
The CAFO initially was opposed by many who expressed fears about impacts on quality of life and individuals’ health. Ultimately, a smaller operation — half the size of the original proposal — was approved.
Gelfius Farms was one of the two CAFOs to receive approval before county officials enacted a moratorium on new CAFOs to allow for an in-depth review of local regulations. That review led to some changes after two years of study and debate, which sometimes grew contentious.
We applaud Gelfius for inviting everyone – supporters and opposition alike – to come view his CAFO facility to see for themselves what it looks like, and have questions answered. Fear of the unknown can be daunting.
This act of openness allowed people to make first-hand observations. When people can see for themselves, there’s a greater likelihood of understanding and apprehension being allayed.
That’s always beneficial to a community.