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Wisconsin Community Rallies to Protect
Itself from Multinational Hog Firm 

Richland County Board votes for local review and control
of Large animal feeding /breeding facilities

by John Stauber,
Madison, Wisconsin

The Richland County (Wisconsin) Board of Supervisors voted overwhelmingly (18-2), April 15, 1997, to require large animal feedlot facilities to obtain a 'Conditional Use Permit'. No such facility could legally operate in Richland County without a permit.

The vote which amended the county's zoning law came weeks after citizens learned of a huge hog confinement operation planned for the Town of Marshall near Richland Center. Seghers Hybrid, a privately owned Belgium multinational, is one of the world's largest swine breeding firms and wants to place over 7,800 pigs near many homes and high above three tributaries to trout streams.

'Neighbors Against Hog Factories' submitted over one thousand names requesting that the Board act to protect their air quality, public health, streams, groundwater, town roads, existing farms and property values. The County board's vote means that any farm with more than 1,000 animal units must obtain a Conditional Use permit or it cannot operate.

Richland County citizens thank their county Board of Supervisors for the strong vote, but realize the issue is far from over. They hope that other Wisconsin towns and counties recognize the growing threat of large animal confinement facilities and adopt local zoning controls to plan for the future of their communities.

Published in In Motion Magazine April 27, 1997.