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Jackrabbit Farms Still Stinking out Mount Vernon Neighbors; No Quick Solution in Sight

After shaking her pom-poms for the “Jackrabbit Family Farm” piglet factory near Mount Vernon in 2013, Congresswoman Kristi Noem has had nothing to say about the overpowering stench emanating from the 5000-sow facility and making life miserable for its neighbors. Davison County residents went to the courthouse yesterday to air their continuing grievances against the Pipestone Systems facility. Pipestone Systems says it’s doing what it can:

“The microbes in the pit take years to get fully activated, and then the odor will be reduced,” said Sean Simpson, general counsel for Pipestone System….

Dr. Barry Kerkaert, veterinarian for Jackrabbit Farms, said the company is not satisfied with the odor issue and a major remedy to the situation is to get the enzymes in the manure pits working better to eliminate the odor [Anna Jauhola, “Neighbors Still Unhappy About Smell at Jackrabbit Farms,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.04.09].

Hmmm… if there’s stuff for the neighbors to smell, there must be stuff for the microbes to eat. What are you lazy microbes waiting for? Activate!

While we wait for the microbes to get to work, neighbors lose their quality of life, with no compensation, and with Pipestone Systems saying it costs too much to reduce the smell further:

Neighbors Dave Truesdell and Lyle Reimnitz said both their families are often overwhelmed by the smell. They said they cannot open their windows at night and the smell penetrates their homes, particularly with a south wind.

Theresa Mueller, another neighbor, said the odor is particularly bad at night and has caused severe respiratory issues for her and her daughter.

Truesdell asked why Pipestone and Jackrabbit haven’t put in biofilters that work to decrease the odor. Simpson countered, saying the company installed biofilters, just not the ones the neighbors requested “because it’s cost prohibitive” [Jauhola, 2015.04.09].

It’s also cost-prohibitive to go sleep in town every night the wind blows from the south, or to eat the loss on selling a house in a CAFO-stink zone. But Congresswoman Noem has no time to champion the South Dakotans suffering those losses. Business comes first. Let’s build more CAFOs, right, Rep. Mickelson?


  1. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2015-04-10 09:14

    We should force them to cap their systems with methane generators at the very least and provide the surplus electricity to their neighbors instead.

  2. mike from iowa 2015-04-10 09:42

    Answer is obvious,isn’t it? Wingnuts won’t allow microbes to unionize so they can’t get any organized activities going. Just one more intended consequence of one party,Repartisan rule.

  3. Lynn 2015-04-10 09:50

    Tasi great idea in capturing methane! I’d imagine the property resale values of the neighbors nearby have gone down also.

  4. Lynn 2015-04-10 10:04

    Warning! Beware of following too close or passing one of these manure hauling tanker trucks on our highways! The one I passed looked like an old Milk tanker except without the shiny clean stainless steel body. I was passing one of these on Hwy 50 west of Tyndall and their filler top was not secure and the wind was spraying liquid manure on the highway and I didn’t know until I passed it and it was the most horrid smell imaginable. He turned off at Country Ford going on a gravel road and I kept driving but it took a long time for that for the smell to wear off from my olfactory receptors or whatever.

    I went to wash my car ASAP it took a while to get those stains off the paint and windshield. Initially I was worried the stains were permanent but eventually got them off. That liquid manure is so concentrated!

    If your a cyclist you may want to have fenders on your on your bike to make sure whatever residue especially if it’s raining does not get thrown up by the rider in front of you or your front wheel into your face, eyes, nose or mouth. That could be a Mr. Yuk experience.

  5. Paul Seamans 2015-04-10 10:23

    Funny Mike, damn non-unionized microbes. Does the right-to-work statute extend to microbes? Can’t our legislature/governor pass a law requiring these lazy microbes to work?

  6. Tasi Livermont 2015-04-10 10:51

    Big Ag knows this too. It’s been done in Wisconsin successfully with dairies. And I was approached by an angry cafo dairy guy a couple years ago (my family farm sticker on my laptop at the time provoked him) who proceeded to tell me about a group hoping to cap these, generate electricity and plug it into a storage bay of servers that would sell their memory and digital storage. Not a fan of CAFOs, but might as well put shit to use.

  7. mike from iowa 2015-04-10 11:11

    Be a perfect campaign ad for compassionate welfare reform-if microbes want to eat they have to work or vice-versa. Beat wingnuts over the head with this one,Dems.

  8. Richard Schriever 2015-04-10 15:03

    Bah – smells like money – same as the entire state of Iowa, and the southern half of Minnesooota. That methane capture idea is a good one. Could just put one big dome over the above mentioned geography and Voila – the nation’s energy problems solved.

  9. Charlie from Minnesota 2015-04-10 20:45

    Since you have “Mike from Iowa”, I took this handle. We lived in NW Iowa for 20+ years, but retired in Minnesota. At the time we lived there, Sioux County had a greater population of hogs, than citizens. The ratio has probably escalated. Living in town, there were nights we could not go outdoors. ” Smell all that money”, was the local justification, we surely did.
    We cannot stop CAFOs, but the suggestion that methane generators could not only capture some of that odor, but give the production system a local benefit, is feasible. Those that are resisting the Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations should pursue making this option mandatory.
    I really doubt that “Dennis Doolittle” would consider this positive approach in his quest for “economic development”, however. Not too many hogs around Pierre!

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-10 22:00

    Mike is right. Unions make things work!

  11. mike from iowa 2015-04-11 03:32

    Thanks to a gentlemen’s agreement between business and unions in Minnesota,these CAFO microbes would have been union trained and ready to eat bacteria from the minute they hit the job site. I wonder if smart-ass wingnuts in South Dakota pay microbes a training wage? You get what you don’t pay for. Just don’t blame poorly educated Microbes. They aren’t lazy,just clueless like so many “leaders” in Dakota.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-11 06:37

    Such defeatists around here. We can stop CAFOs. Citizens have done it in Hanson, Hand, Grant, and other counties by raising their voices and letting their county commissioners know that some economic development is not worth the price.

  13. barry freed 2015-04-12 08:47

    A pig produces 13 pounds of manure per day; equal to 6 humans? That means their “pit” accommodates the equivalent of a city of 30,000. At what city population size do the State or Feds require a treatment plant?

  14. Les 2015-04-12 10:15

    “”Not too many hogs around Pierre.””

    Surely you jest, Charlie!

  15. Mary N. 2015-04-12 18:28

    Yes, let’s promote businesses that interfere with quality of life here in South Dakota!! Really, why is a legislator from the Sioux Falls area promoting this crap? Can anyone tell me why?

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-13 06:17

    Good point, Barry! Sewage treatment should be at least as strict for these industrial operations as it is for urban development.

    Mary N., you Sioux Falls legislator promotes business über alles, just like Dennis Daugaard, because he thinks promoting a bunch of businesses with state help is the way to ensure big contributions to his campaign coffers when he runs for Governor.

  17. Susan Williams 2018-03-18 21:39

    How can I contact someone about Jackrabbit farm. We have a Pipestone operation locating in our area.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-03-19 05:38

    Where is the operation, Susan? What stage is it at? Has the county approved the conditional use permit yet?

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