farm expansion may face opposition
by Ivan Foley
A Farley area farmer this week detailed plans his family
has to expand its hog farm operation.
His plans could be met with opposition. A letter to the
editor by a leader of the group known as Concerned Citizens
of Platte County in last week's issue of The Landmark
brought the issue to public attention without listing
the name of the farmer in question.
Gary Oberdiek of Oberdiek Family Farms says the operation
referenced in the letter is his family's.
"That's us," he said this week as he explained
his family's intention to convert a couple of its current
"finishing" buildings to nurseries and add two
1,100-head finishing buildings.
They'll also have one existing 350-head finishing building
on the farm, which is located a mile and a half west of
Farley in the river bottom.
The plans are pending approval from the Department of
Natural Resources. Approval would come no sooner than
30 days, he said. Even if approved that soon, he doesn't
believe construction would begin until after the first
of the year.
DNR accepts written public comment for a 30-day period.
Letters recently went out to nine nearby landowners with
an invitation to send written comments to the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources Water Pollution Control
Program, PO Box 176, Jefferson City, Mo., 65102-0176.
Oberdiek says no neighbors have contacted him with serious
concerns, other than to get to know his plans.
Still, a group of potential opponents have announced
they'll gather at the Farley Fire Station Thursday night
at 7 p.m. to discuss the proposed expansion.
The new buildings would be "high rise," Oberdiek
"It's like a two-story building. Pigs are on the
second story. There's a slatted floor and on the bottom
floor you put two ft. of wood shavings and blow air through
it. The waste falls down and you dry it out. The waste
goes from about 90% moisture to about 50% moisture,"
He said he visited a similar operation in Ohio, where
the operation seems to be going smoothly.
"They haven't detected any hydrogen sulfide and
the ammonia levels are extremely low. There's a house
about 100-150 yards away from it," Oberdiek said,
trying to calm fears of "deadly gases" mentioned
in the letter written last week by Sally Radmacher.
Once dried, the hog manure is then spread on surrounding
farmland as fertilizer.
"DNR's primary concern is water quality. They look
at the type of waste handling system you have and whether
you have enough acres to spread the waste that's created,
and whether they see any potential for water pollution,"
An engineer hired by the family told them he doesn't
see any problem because there are about 700 to 800 acres
of cropland on which to spread the waste.
Oberdiek said the area is in a flood plain, but doesn't
foresee a problem.
"It's in a 500 year flood plain. It's not a concern.
In 1993 when many areas flooded, we had seep water in
low ground, but no flood water.
"We're not going to build on low ground," he
Opponents have mentioned concerns about a potential flood.
"That is a lot of manure to handle in the Missouri
River flood plain, especially with the charming city of
Parkville down river from the proposed site," Radmacher
wrote in her letter last week.
"My dad and brother and I all live out here (near
the hog operation). My family has been here for over 100
years. My dad is 81 and he says there's always been hogs
here," Oberdiek added.
Oberdiek said Radmacher's contention in last week's letter
that "if the owners receive this classification (Type
1C), they can expand without further notification to 7,500
finishing hogs" is incorrect.
"That is not accurate. If we want to add another
building we would have to go through all the same steps
again through DNR. You're only permitted for what you're
doing right now" on your permit application, Oberdiek
He added he invites the public to come visit his farm
for a tour and explanation of plans this Saturday, Oct.
6. He'll give tours beginning at 1 p.m. and then again
at 4 p.m., with one hour designated for each time slot.
The farm is located at 23905 Oberdiek Lane near Farley.
He said anyone with questions can call him at 330-3279.