A moratorium on permits for hog farms in Arkansas gives that state’s legislature time to review future livestock operations. This is a second moratorium that has been issued on new permits for large or medium hog farms in the Buffalo River Watershed.
This moratorium may remain in force up to 180 days and it stems from a permit issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for the C&H Hog Farm near Mount Judea, AR. The moratorium was enacted to allow for the initiation and potential adoption of rule changes that would prohibit future medium- and large-confined animal operations, as well as concentrated animal feeding operations for swine.
According to Administrative Law Judge Charles Moulton, of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APCEC), the moratorium extends the previous one put in place on May 6. That moratorium was set to expire Oct. 22.
Moulton said the moratorium deals with reviews of APCEC regulations that deal with liquid animal waste and control systems, and animal feeding operations.
Jerry Masters, executive vice president of the Arkansas Pork Producers Association, says that Minnetonka, Minn.-based Cargill — which holds the contract on the C&H Hog Farm — had put its own moratorium on more facilities in the Buffalo River Watershed within the last six weeks.
The delay is to give the amendments to the regulation — intended to prevent future large-scale hog farms from opening in the watershed — time to go through review. The review would be done jointly by the Arkansas Legislature and House Agriculture and Health Committee, which currently is scheduled for Dec. 5. After that, the changes would go to the rules committee.
Masters says the C&H Hog Farm is well above permit standards, adding the Environmental Protection Agency has visited the site recently and found no violations.
Moulton says the joint committee meeting on the amendments takes place after the rules committee, set for the last meeting before the Legislature ends regular session for the year, and in order for the joint committee to review the rules before the end of the regular session, there would probably have to be a special meeting called of the state Legislature. After those two reviews, third parties would be asked for input.
C&H Hog Farm is situated about 6 miles from the Buffalo National River in Newton County. The farm was designed for a capacity of 2,500 sows and not more than 6,500 swine — a combination of sows and piglets — under roof at one time.