Hog farm coming to Lake Region?

Chuck Wickenhofer

According to an application filed with the state Dept. of Health by Grand Prairie Agriculture, LLP, a hog farm may be coming to Pelican Township, about a mile and a half from Grahams Island State Park and 10 miles from Devils Lake.

The application indicates that the proposed hog farm would house just under 2,700 pigs. Comparatively, a potential hog farm near Buffalo in Cass County is planned to house 9,000 pigs.

Though the permit issued to Rolling Green Family Farms by the Dept. of Health to go forward with the 9,000-head farm in Buffalo was approved, citizens from the town of about 200 have appealed the decision.

That case is currently being litigated in the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Ramsey County is familiar with litigation involving hog farm operations, as the county lost a case in 2008 concerning feedlot regulations and a 5,500-head farm in Edmore operated by Viking Pork. The Supreme Court ruled in that case that “Ramsey County exceeded its authority...because the ordinance regulates more than the location of a feeding operation, the type of animals and size of the operation."

It’s unclear whether county zoning or other regulations would affect the realization of the proposed farm in Pelican Township should Grand Prairie Agriculture’s application be approved.

The application for that proposed hog farm was filed on June 30. That means that public comments to the Dept. of Health, if any have been filed, have yet to be considered.

Lois Steinhaus, treasurer for Pelican Township, says that she worries about the proposed hog farm being so near to Devils Lake.

“I have concerns regarding the site of the hog farm being so close to the lake and residences and asked the health department if they would do an onsite evaluation,” Steinhaus wrote in a recent letter to the Journal. “We need to have a voice, whether it's pro or con.”

Neither a telephone number nor a website for Grand Prairie Agriculture could be found by the time this report was filed.

Those who wish to provide comment to the Dept. of Health may do so by calling Karl Rockeman at (701) 328-5225 or Marty Haroldson at (701) 328-5234.

Comments may also be mailed to North Dakota Department of Health, Environmental Health Section, 600 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, N.D. 58505-0200.