hog farm expansion gets the OK
The wait is finally over. For Gary and Warren Oberdiek
of Farley, the long months of fighting opposition over
a proposed hog expansion came to an end last week when
they received word from the Missouri Department of Natural
Resources that they would be receiving their permit.
"We're pleased to get the permit. It took quite
awhile but we're glad to have it now," said Gary
The proposed expansion included an addition of two high-rise
hog facilities that would add 2,200 finishing spaces to
their current operation. The facility, which is similar
to ones in Ohio and Indiana, involves the manure and liquid
waste being combined with sawdust or other organic material
in a system that dries the waste to reduce odor.
Despite the months of opposition from some neighbors
in Farley and some residents throughout Platte County,
the Department of Natural Resources announced it found
no reason to deny the permit.
"We didn't find any solid reasons for denying the
permit," said Randy Clarkson, chief of engineering
for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources water
pollution control program. "We reviewed the application
in detail and it met all the criteria that it was required
Clarkson, who addressed a public meeting of nearly 120
individuals in March regarding questions and concerns
for the proposed hog farm operation, clarified that his
department was only authorized to deal with subsurface
and surface waters.
Despite Clarkson's remarks explaining his position with
the permit, questions continued to flood the public meeting
about odor from the facility, property values and contamination
of water supplies.
A main concern that Clarkson stated needed to be addressed
was the designation of that area as a 500-year flood plain,
which is what the area was believed to be designated prior
to the public meeting. Clarkson clarified that even if
the area turned out to be in a 100-year flood plain, it
would still meet the criteria set forth by the state.
In a conversation this week, Clarkson told The Landmark
that the area met the 100-year flood plain criteria.
"What that tells us is that if there is a flood
event in the Missouri River area that would represent
a 100-year flood, that the levy in that area should support
that type of flood," explained Clarkson.
Despite the approval of the construction permit by the
Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri State
Representative of the 30th District Meg Harding stated
her displeasure with the approval of the permit.
"While I do support the rights of our local family
farmers, and understand that there is nothing in the law
to prevent the issuance of this permit, I think this is
an unfortunate decision. I feel the hog barns are perilously
close to the communities of Farley, Parkville, and Kansas
City, as well as the Missouri River. One of my priorities
next year will be to do a strict review of existing laws,
rules, and regulations governing concentrated animal feed
operations," stated Harding.
During the 45-day waiting period, Clarkson stated his
department expedited the transcripts from the public hearing
and developed a response letter addressing everyone's
concerns and explaining the reason for the department's
approval of the permit.
"We developed a response letter that was sent to
over 100 people that had associated with us through a
letter or at the public meeting," said Clarkson.
He explained that due to the media coverage and the great
interest from the public surrounding this issue, the majority
of those 45 days was spent reviewing the letter that would
"We wanted to ensure the right reply to concerns,
as well as the explanation for the approval of the permit."
According to Oberdiek, the next step is to get a county
"I don't know if there will be any opposition or
not. There shouldn't be but you never can tell,"
Oberdiek stated he is going to try to get the health
permit as soon as possible. He said he needs to speak
with the county commissioners regarding the health ordinance
and find out what process needs to take place in order
to receive the permit.
The length of time it takes to receive the health permit
will determine the construction schedule of the high-rise