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Alden Community Hears Details of Hog Farm Expansion Proposal

September 25, 2018 10:35 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A Freeborn County farmer is hoping to double the size of a hog farm southeast of Alden, a plan requiring a number of permit approvals and opportunities for public feedback.

John Perschbacher currently runs a 2,400-hog facility on 10 acres along 670th Avenue. Under the proposal, he would build a second barn and increase the number of pigs to 5,000. 

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Due to its size and the potential for environmental impacts, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and others are required to review it and solicit comments from area residents. Tuesday night, they held a public forum at Alden City Hall, where around a dozen people came to learn more about the plan and share their concerns about odor and water quality.

"We look at the potential impacts to environmental health from the proposal. We also go through our permitting process," MPCA spokesperson Cathy Rofshus explained of the forum. 

While some of the concerns raised were similar to what other southeastern Minnesotans have said about other hog farm proposals, this plan has drawn considerably less public outcry than similar-sized proposal near Mabel in Fillmore County.

"Some of the more recent meetings have happened in extreme southeast Minnesota where we have what we call karst features like sinkholes and springs and caves, and in karst areas what's on the surface can easily reach groundwater used for drinking," Rofshus said.

While the Freeborn County facility is near Alden's main water well, the Department of Health deemed it not vulnerable under the expansion.

Perschbacher, who lives a mile from the facility he's hoping to expand, said he's doing his part to address concerns about the smell and water quality.

"I'm trying to be a good neighbor. I'm not trying to pollute water or anything because I have to drink the same water," he said.

MPCA is accepting written public comments through October 10. More information about the plan and how to submit comments is available on their website.

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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