Turner County Permits 2.5M-Chicken Factory; Parker Usually Won’t Stink

Jackley-backing Phil Sonstegard wanted to build a six-million-chicken plant three miles outside of Parker. After various zoning and court fights, Sonstegard has won a permit from Turner County to build a 2.5-million-chicken factory.

Turner County residents have the option to fight the project:

It is possible that residents could push back against the vote. Mark Joffer, who was part of a lawsuit against Sonstegard and Turner County last year, said he’s not sure if that will happen.

The permit application passed over the objections of some neighbors, Joffer included, who disapproved of the board’s use of a clause in its zoning language that allows it to bypass the required waivers from nearby property owners if a project’s owner can show that it will utilize new technology to lessen the impact on them.

The company told commissioners its design would keep odors to a barely perceivable level 91 percent of the time for the nearest landowners. In Parker, there would be no odor 90 percent of the time.*

Joffer wasn’t convinced that the presentation was sound.

“I don’t agree that Sonstegard met the bar for new technology that would override the rights of surrounding property owners,” Joffer said. “That’s the part that bothers me the most” [John Hult, “Massive Egg Farm Approved in Turner County,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.07.19].

So when technology can keep the stink of 2.5 million chickens from reaching town for nine days out of ten, the county can ignore neighbors’ objections? The officials voting for this chicken factory say the permit promotes economic development, but I’m not sure that stinking like chicken poop every tenth day* is a great economic development strategy.

Sonstegard still needs a feedlot permit from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Update 10:12 CDT: Brian Donahue, attorney for Sonstegard Foods-Turner County LLC, sends this correction to HUlt’s reporting and my commentary thereupon:

I am the attorney representing Sonstegard Foods-Turner County, LLC. Please be advised that the Argus Leader story on my client’s laying hen operation and its conditional use permit in Turner County contains a factual error as to the Odor Footprint Model used for the site. That tool establishes the potential “annoyance” from a confined animal feeding operation. John Hult made a mistake in regard to the facts (90% annoyance free should be 98% annoyance free) and will be correcting that part of his article. Further, he misunderstands the discussion presented at the hearing and is taking the 98% figure from the recommendation for acceptable rate as to towns of 5,000 population or less. In our case, we exceed that figure significantly. The site is far enough away from Parker such that the Odor Footprint Model was not used to address the potential “annoyance” for that town, and, if calculated, Parker would be beyond the footprint model limits for any such annoyance. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Brian Donahoe
Donahoe Law Firm, P.C. [e-mail to Dakota Free Press, 2016.07.20]

If Donahoe is correct, Sonstegard’s shouldn’t stink up Parker proper at all… so neighbors closer to the chicken factory can all just move to town, right?

2 Responses to Turner County Permits 2.5M-Chicken Factory; Parker Usually Won’t Stink

  1. mike from iowa

    If there is a substance that could rival or beat hog slop as a champion stinker, it is massive amounts of chicken doo-doo.
    Even in wintertime it can mess up a picnic worse than red ants.

  2. its really funny how the odor footprint tool is scoffed at when used as an argument against one of these cafos but yet in this story it is being used in favor of it.
    bottom line is money, at any cost to someone else…