Indiana farmers anxious about possible CAFO changes

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WANE) Pork farming is big business in Indiana, and it’s often controversial. But, have you ever stopped to think where the pork on your plate comes from?

Fourteen billion dollars, and 13,000 jobs. That’s what Indiana Pork Producers say farmers contribute to the Hoosier economy. But, the rules might be changing after a committee meeting this week about CAFOs.

Heather Hill and her family are pig experts. They own Hill Farms in Greenfield, where they’ve raised pigs for a few years.

Hill Farms operates a confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, in Greenfield, Ind.

“We feel blessed and lucky,” Hill said.

They run a confined animal feeding operation, of CAFO, in very large temperature-controlled rooms, with feeding areas. Hill said the hogs have access to food 24 hours a day.

“Our family used to raise pigs outdoors,” she explained. “That might sound great and grand, but we can’t feed a lot of people like that.”

Hill told Indiana Statehouse reporter, David Williams, they have about 2,400 pigs at their family farm. She said she understands the controversy.

“We want to be good neighbors. We want to follow the rules,” she explained. “We care about this land, we care about our state.”

Last month, Richard Himsel told WISH-TV 24-Hour News 8 his home value plummeted because of the smell of a CAFO near his home. He said it was so bad, his wife can’t spend nights there anymore.

“I’m just like everybody else,” he said previously. “I worked hard to get what I have. And now, because of this, it has taken away from me,”

Heather Hill said that’s why they built corn fields, and tree lines around the farm – to help control the smell.

“We want to make sure that it’s not a nuisance to our neighbors,” she explained.

Hill explained that manure goes under the building within concrete, and is eventually put into the soil to grow corn to feed the pigs.

“We care very much about this environment. It’s the same land my children live on. It’s the water that my children drink, and the air that they breathe,” she explained.

This week, an agricultural committee is scheduled to meet at the Statehouse and talk about CAFO rules and regulations. Hill said if the rules change, she wants to be sure.

“That there’s been a lot of thought put behind them and the sciences behind them. That it wasn’t just an emotional decision that someone thought sounded good on paper. This is our livelihood.”