Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Senator Brandt Hershman weighs in on the CAFO issue

Just when you think no one is listening... when you think you're all alone, feeling like David facing Goliath, at least one Government representative is stepping up to the plate.

Meet Senator Brandt Hershman: Majority Caucus Whip
He's on the following Committees:

- Utilities & Regulatory Affairs, Chairman
- Rules & Legislative Procedure, R.M.
- Tax & Fiscal Policy
- Energy & Environmental Affairs
- Agriculture & Small Business

And in his own words quoted from this letter, he states, QUOTE:
"As someone with a 150 year family history in agriculture and a clear understanding of the challenges facing the successful merging of residential growth and preserving our agricultural heritage, I understand the difficulty you face with respect to the Schuringa CAFO. To this point, I have not expressed a position on the issue because of my respect for the role of the BZA in making this decision. However, comments made at the recent public forum regarding my sponsorship of Indiana's agricultural nuisance law may have given the appearance that I support the application for a special exception. For the record, I do not support the exception."
Does this mean we're actually being heard this time? It appears Senator Hershman has been doing some research on the subject of this CAFO, as he further states in the document -- QUOTE:
"A number of CAFO’s have been approved in Jasper County with little or no opposition, primarily, I believe, due to the rural character of the tracts. This is not the case with the Schuringa application. While much discussion has focused on the newer subdivisions in the area, and their written acceptance of agricultural operations via covenants, these new homes represent only a small percentage of the homeowners in the area. Twenty eight subdivisions with approximately 500 lots exist within 1.5 miles of the Schuringa farm. Many of these homes are located in residentially zoned areas, and pre-date the construction of the poultry CAFO. Their interests need to be considered as well."
Again, many people have been under the mistaken assumption that most residents in the area of this proposed Special Exception are new to the area. Just as our family is not new to this area, in fact 5 generations of our family have resided in this very same home, many of the subdivisions in the near vicinity of this particular proposed veal calf CAFO have also been around long before the poultry farm ever existed.

Although I take exception with his wording that... "A number of CAFO’s have been approved in Jasper County with little or no opposition, primarily, I believe, due to the rural character of the tracts." (Where was he when thousands of people protested the HOG CAFO that went in 2500 feet from my front steps??) ...still, I'm glad he -- at least -- appreciates the fact that this is definitely THE WRONG SITE to place a veal calf operation!

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