JASPER, Ark. — A hog farm in northwest Arkansas has been ordered to clean up its property within the next 60 days after complaints from neighbors about manure runoff.
Boone County Circuit Judge Gail Inman-Campbell ordered Sanders Farm last week to empty a barn of dry pig manure, revegetate land and keep the hogs on its property by January. The farm is in the Buffalo River watershed, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .
A neighbor complained to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality in July about manure running off from Sanders Farm, which is in neighboring Newton County. The department took the 2,400-hog farm to court Nov. 7 with the intent to shut it down.
At the time of the complaint, the farm had been letting pigs roam freely and had placed dry manure outside protected barns, exposing them to rainfall that could run off onto nearby lands, including creeks that eventually drain into the Buffalo River.
The department said the operation violated environmental laws with the site’s maintenance and by not having a permit to operate. New medium and large confined animal operations that use liquid waste disposal are banned in the Buffalo River’s watershed until 2020 pending research on another hog farm’s effect on the river. Sanders Farm is a medium-sized confined animal operation.
Patrick and Starlinda Sanders said they started the farm in August 2015, intending to run a dry litter operation that doesn’t require a permit from the department. But they didn’t obtain the required nutrient management plan for the farm.
The couple faced troubles earlier this year when their pigs began getting sick while continuing to reproduce. They eventually had about 3,200 pigs when the neighbor complained to the department.
“We did make mistakes,” said Patrick Sanders. “We were just totally overwhelmed.”
A follow-up hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com