COLUMBUS, Indiana — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management will allow up to 8,800 baby pigs at Gelfius Farms, located off East County Road 200N in Clifty Township.

In late 2013, rural Hartsville farmer Bill Gelfius sparked controversy when he first stated he want to raise having that many hogs to maturity at his proposed concentrated animal feeding operation.

Only half that number were allowed in Gelfius’ revised proposal, approved by the Bartholomew County Board of Zoning Appeals in June 2014.

Issued in late March, the IDEM permit will allow Gelfius to have 8,800 baby pigs, each weighing about 12 pounds, as they are being raised from the weaned-to-feeder stage, Gelfius said.

Half of the hogs will be shipped away after six to eight weeks when they each weigh the feeder stage of 30 to 60 pounds, said Kristen Whittington, a local agribusiness consultant working on behalf of Gelfius Farms.

No more than 4,400 hogs will remain for the entire production cycle, during which their weight will grow to about 280 pounds, she said.

 

While the size of the animals is a consideration in IDEM’s decision, it was not a factor in June 2014 when the BZA approved a variance that allows no more than 4,400 animals, city-county planner Jeff Bergman said.  Gelfius Farms won’t exceed that limit without approval at the local level, Whittington said.

Learn more details in Wednesday’s print edition of The Republic.

 

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.