Hog Farmer Calls Pollution Claims “Crazy”
Jason Henson, a hog farmer in Newton County has come under pressure from Fayetteville city officials.
They are concerned runoff from the hog farm is putting contaminants into the Buffalo River.
April 16th the Fayetteville City Council passed a resolution opposing the hog Farm.
“For people who say we want to pollute it, it’s ludicrous, it’s just crazy,” said Henson.
The Buffalo River is about 6 miles from C&H Hog Farm.
Just within feet of the hog house, you cannot smell the hogs.
Before entering the hog farm everyone, including workers, must take a shower and suit up in clean coveralls and boots.
Henson said that’s because antibiotics aren’t used on the hogs, and it protect the hogs from getting any illnesses or diseases.
Pig manure runs below the hog house into pits, which run into two lagoons lined with 18 inches of clay. The manure is then pumped out of the lagoons by a truck.
“The ponds are set up so you don’t get any runoff from the surrounding areas into the lagoons the only thing that van get into the lagoons is the manure that comes out of the barns and any rainfall that falls directly on the surface of the lagoons,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau Environmental Specialist, Evan Teague.
Below the farm is a water well that supplies drinking water to the hogs. That water is tested once a month for contaminants.
If there’s any kind of runoff from the lagoons or pits that hold the manure it would end up in the water well before the river, according to Teague.
C&H Hog Farms has been in operation for 3 weeks, but construction started two years ago.
The Henson’s have been farmers in Newton County for eight generations.
“We are environmentalists at heart we care just as much about as any river as much as we do the Buffalo. The Big Creek down here to me is very important; it’s where I learned how to swim. It’s where my daughter learned how to swim,” said Henson.
Hog farmers must meet specific standards with the EPA and ADEQ, which Henson says they have done.
“If you do exactly what the law requires and even go above and beyond what more can you do?”