Callaway residents consider legal action over pig farm

Farmers said Tuesday they are considering taking legal action after an agricultual company said it would not consider relocating a pig farm. "File"

Farmers in Callaway County said Tuesday they are considering taking legal action after an agricultural company said it would not consider relocating a pig farm.

Jeff Jones, who owns a cattle farm less than half a mile from the site of a proposed sow complex, told KRCG 13 he spoke with the president of the company building the facility. He said David Eichelberger, of Wayland, Iowa-based Eichelberger Farms, told him the company would proceed as planned despite the concerns Callaway County residents raised at a June 10 town hall meeting.

"He didn't ask what the community's thoughts were, all the effort that was put into the open forum, he didn't ask about any of that," Jones said. "The only thing he said is that we are going forward with it."

Jones said opponents are looking for legal advice on what to do next, though they are not currently considering a lawsuit.

Eichelberger Farms recently bought property from Darren Horstmeier on County Road 227, just south of Interstate 70, for a sow complex. The facility would consist of three buildings housing 7600 sows and 2720 swine. Many neighbors have said they are worried a facility that large would pose environmental and economic risks to those living around it, singling out the smell and waste the pigs would generate. At last week's town hall meeting, several residents said they thought Eichelberger's arrival threatened local family farms.

Horstmeier said Tuesday he would not comment further on the Eichelberger project. In an interview last week, he said the facility will be too far away from other properties for anyone else to smell it. Horstmeier's house is about the same distance from the site as Jones', and Horstmeier said he would not build anything on his property he would not want to live next to.

Jones said Eichelberger's attitude toward those living near the facility bothers him. He said he thought the dispute could have been avoided if Eichelberger had sent a company representative to the June 10 meeting and listened to neighbors' concerns.

"It's very strange to me that producers (of pork) would treat the consumers in this way," he said.

Eichelberger Farms did not return calls seeking comment.