County resident Janelle Weatherly requested a two-year moratorium on any expansion of existing Concentrated Animal Feeding Units (CAFOs) to Class C, B, or A, and a two-year moratorium on new CAFOs not yet in operation to begin this month,
In a letter that Weatherly wrote and presented to the Commissioners on Tuesday, she says the moratorium will allow time for county commissioners or an appointed committee to study facts of the most recent EPA Clean Water Act, health risks associated with CAFOs as well as determine effective practices and current technologies to monitor CAFOs.
In studies that Weatherly presented to the Commissioners, there was evidence that MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphyl-ococcus aureus infection, was present in some of the areas of study, but did not indicate that it was necessarily related to the CAFO operation, and also showed that there wasn’t MRSA in other areas of study.
Weatherly also submitted a few other studies during her presentation, but according to the Commissioners, they were incomplete studies, or in the beginning stages of studies and did not provide them with concrete enough evidence to make a decision one-way or the other.
Weatherly is a member of “Preserving Rural America”, a group that defines themselves as “Local farmers and rural families with strong agricultural ties,” who are concerned about the ecological impact of large CAFOs in Moody County, as well as personal health of those impacted by them.
While the Commissioners took no action at the time, Weatherly informed them that Preserving Rural America has sent letters with their concerns to Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senator John Thune, Representative Kristi Noem, as well as the District 4 and District 8 Representatives. They have also started circulating a petition against an already passed Swine CAFO, in which they say they have “several pages of signatures.”
Todd Dietrich, a Moody County Farmer spoke up at the meeting saying, “You guys can talk about these big hog units and this stuff, I have been working in them for years to support my family and I see what good they do.” He went on to say, “How many new businesses have come into Flandreau and paid tax dollars? Our school isn’t doing very well financially and you want to put a stop on growth because the fear of.”
The entire moratorium request be published in the County Commission meeting minutes in next week’s paper.