- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

MOUNT VERNON, S.D. (AP) - A farming company is trying to set the record straight about the odor produced by a hog facility it manages in Davison County.

Since it began operating in May 2013, the Jackrabbit Family Farms sow operation that’s about 10 miles south of Mount Vernon has farrowed 150,000 hogs annually. And for just as long, neighbors have been complaining about the odor emitted from the four manure pits at the facility.

Pipestone System vice president Dr. Barry Kerkaert said he is frustrated by what he described as continued verbal attacks over the smell of pig manure.

“We just exercised our rights, and we’re tired of being harassed,” he told The Daily Republic (http://bit.ly/1XRW2Xi ). Kerkaert added that Jackrabbit has complied with state environmental standards and manure management regulations and has taken additional steps to reduce the odor.

Kerkaert said the facility bought several filters at a cost of about $35,000 to put on fans that take air out of buildings. But at a recent Davison County Commission meeting, several neighbors to the facility said the filters didn’t do enough to curb the smell.

“We did that out of the goodness of our heart, and now the filters aren’t even good enough,” Kerkaert said.

John Jones, a farmer who owns a stake in the farm, argues that the smell comes with the territory of living in an agricultural community.

“You might smell a little bit of pig, but is that worth a fuss over to shut down a sow farm?” Jones said.

Betty Moller, who lives two miles north of the facility, said the odor is annoying and “smells like rotten eggs.”

Moller said she doesn’t expect county commissioners to change their minds, and that she sees the benefit for farmers who have invested in the facility. But she said that because of the odor, she doesn’t like to have family and friends over and spend time outside.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to have a cookout,” Moller said. “I’d love to have all the (Davison County) commissioners here at about 5 o’clock for steaks and see if they could possibly even eat their steak.”

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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