A group of local residents worried about a commercial hog farm set to be built near a creek that feeds into the scenic Buffalo National River gathered in protest Tuesday afternoon on the University of Arkansas campus.
The farm, located next to Big Creek near Mount Judea in north-central Arkansas, could generate over 2 million gallons of waste each year. According to a permit issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the farm’s operators will dispose of the liquid hog manure by spraying in onto 640 acres of surrounding grassland, a plan which has many people concerned that some of the waste will make its way into the Buffalo National River.
The demonstration was planned to coincide with a campus visit from the USDA Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.
“Actions taken by the Farm Service Agency, a part of the USDA, have resulted in the C&H Hog Factory being built without a complete ADEQ application or environmental impact statement,” stated a Facebook event for the protest. “Secretary Vilsack needs to know there is something rotten in Newton County.”
A forum to further discuss the issue is planned for 6 p.m. May 1 in the Walker Room at the Fayetteville Public Library. The event, set to be moderated by KUAF’s Kyle Kellams, will include short speeches from several individuals including Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
The ADEQ is also planning a public meeting on the issue at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 at the Carrol Electric building in Jasper.
As of Tuesday afternoon, an online petition opposing the farm had received over 9,900 signatures.