The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued a draft permit to farmer Matt Ditch to allow him to build a hog confinement operation east of Center Point that will feed up to 4,160 hogs for market at a time, the agency reported on Thursday.
Neighbors and two attorneys representing them have objected to Ditch’s plans, which will expand his father’s existing hog nursery with 300 animals at 4853 West Otter Rd.
The DNR can grant a final construction permit to Ditch at the end of a 14-day appeal period.
Paul Petitti, DNR senior environmental engineer in the agency’s Spencer office, on Thursday said such an appeal must come from the county, in this case, the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
Darrin Gage, Linn County’s director of policy and administration, on Thursday said the supervisors have not yet seen the DNR’s draft permit.
However, Gage said the supervisors will add the topic of the Ditch permit to agendas for their meetings at 9 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Gage said the supervisors have 14 days to announce to the DNR that they will appeal, but 30 days to file an appeal. An appeal might seek to add conditions to the permit or ask that the permit be denied, Gage said.
The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission would hear any appeal, the DNR’s Petitti said.
The Linn supervisors submitted a letter to the DNR in late June expressing their opposition to Ditch’s hog confinement plans. The supervisors voted 4-1 to oppose the project, with Supervisor Brent Oleson voting in the minority.
Ditch has retooled an earlier proposal, which called for a confinement operation with 5,661 hogs.
Ditch also has told the supervisors and neighbors that he will employ an odor-control system at the confinement building, will plant trees around it and will inject the hog manure from it into farm fields and not spread it on top of fields.
Linn County has 16 hog confinement facilities, 14 with manure management plans, the DNR has reported.