County board continues work on New Fashion Pork letter

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Assistant County Attorney Lonnie Saunders and District 4 county supervisor Paul Johnson on Tuesday continued work on a letter to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources regarding New Fashion Pork expansion plans north of Superior.

The company wants to construct a single 328-foot-by-101-foot barn to house 4,400 head of finished market hogs. The count equals 1,760 animal units and makes the expansion eligible for review through the master matrix process.

Dickinson County Zoning & Environmental Health Administrator David Kohlhaase has said New Fashion Pork has met all DNR requirements to move forward with the project. The county would need to have data to justify a decision to deny the master matrix plan.

If approved, the company's barn would be constructed in the far northeast corner of Dickinson County -- about 5 miles north of Superior near county road N22. Manure would be injected at three locations in Superior township, including a location about 3 miles east of Big Spirit Lake.

The Dickinson County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the letter drafted by Saunders and Johnson at its Jan. 13 meeting. Private-sector opponents of the project have supplied the board with information as well.

"We have owned a home on East Lake Okoboji for seven years and absolutely love our time there," Suzanne and Larry Fuller wrote, in a letter to the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors. "Our extended family comes from Minneapolis and Sioux Falls to enjoy all the seasons at the lake. We even spend New Year's Eve there. The grandchildren are growing up with wonderful memories of swimming, tubing and boating on the lake. Friends from Minnesota, California, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan and Florida have enjoyed summer days at our place. We are huge fans of Okoboji."

The Fullers feel potential runoff from the manure fields will drain into Big Spirit Lake. They also said they do not want to spend their "warm summer evenings enveloped in manure aroma."

"We have to question our ownership of a place on East Lake," they told the board. "We prefer to open our windows and not use air conditioning as we believe it is better for our health and environment. Outdoor grilling and dining, boating, fishing, walking, biking and gardening are among the many activities enjoyed in the outdoor playground of the lakes. The dangers of water pollution are obvious. But the health impact of the particulates in the malodorous air is of concern to many. And we do not want our family to be a case study in the negative impacts."

In other action Tuesday, Dickinson County Attorney Jon Martin and County Recorder Ann Ditsworth were sworn in to serve four-year terms. Ditsworth captured 69.5 percent of the vote in her election night win over Democrat Anita Sorensen. Martin did not face a Democrat on the ballot and received 5,980 votes to stay in office.

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