CAFO Compromise In Whitley County Leaves Homeowners Unhappy

Aug 17, 2017

Opposing sides made one final pitch Wednesday to the Whitley County Plan Commission over buffers for confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Farmers and lakefront homeowners attended the meeting decked out, respectively, in green and blue shirts. They’ve disagreed for months on temporary buffers for confined animal feeding operations and ultimately failed to reach a compromise.

Homeowners asked the commission for a two mile buffer between CAFOs and nearby lakes; farmers wanted 1,000 feet. In the end, the commission decided on half a mile.

John O’Connell, president of Whitley Water Matters, says that distance is too short.

“I don’t want to smell stink, I don’t want to have flies,” says O’Connell, “and, most importantly, I don’t want algae, blue algae, in my lake.”

Agriculture producers, though, feel equally constrained by new subdivisions popping up in the county, says farmer Kelley Sheiss.

“Many times we don’t have a lot decision making if ground right across from us or right next to us sells,” Sheiss says. “So, a subdivision could come in, and they might decide they don’t like our farming operation.”

These buffers will be in place for at least a year while the county updates its zoning ordinances.