Indiana lawmakers talk impacts of CAFOs

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Indiana lawmakers recommended some changes to concentrated animal feeding operations and farming in Indiana on Thursday.

At the Indiana Statehouse on Thursday, the rules and regulations environmental impacts of CAFOs were the topic of conversation for a at a summer committee’s third and final hearing.

Some people, like Kim Ferraro, senior staff attorney of the Hoosier Environmental Council, are calling for changes.

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

“We need to actually involve the people who are actually impact by CAFOs into the process of deciding whether or not it’s ok to build them there,” Ferraro explained. “Our current laws don’t do that adequately.

“We don’t in any way regulate the noxious odors and air emissions that we know are emitted from Confined Animal Feeding Operations.”

Others disagree.

Josh Trenary, with the Indiana Pork Producers explained “There a lot of information in there that may be misconstrued or misinterpreted that definitely need to be addressed. Hopefully our side of this hearing process has helped do that.”

Trenary added: “Indiana’s pork producers appreciate legislators taking the time to examine the many stringent rules and regulations from local, state and federal governments that Hoosier farmers must follow. Our Hoosier hog farmers are responsible stewards who produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, ensure practices to protect public health, safeguard natural resources and contribute to a better quality of life in our communities. We look forward to reviewing the committee’s recommendations and to identifying ideas together that meet the needs of Hoosiers.”

The committee’s chairperson, State Sen. Sue Glick of LaGrange, said they’ve heard testimony on all sides, from dozens of people. Thursday, the committee voted to recommend approval of the final report, which states in part that nearby businesses and neighbors who may be impacted should have a say in where CAFOs can go.

It also includes language on better notices if a CAFO or CFO is coming or expanding near you. The question was asked Thursday, could a new law be introduced down the road?

“I think if not a new law, at least some tweaks in current regulations and rules,” Glick said. “I think we all share this planet. I think it’s important that we all learn the concerns.”

According to Glick, the committee’s recommendations will go back into the hands of lawmakers, who may use it to draft new legislation, or change current laws once the session starts next year.