ARROW ROCK, Mo. – The 4,800 hogs will be confined in two buildings. The urine and feces will fall through slatted floors into concrete pits where it will be held for up to a year before it is spread on nearby farmland.
The hogs will produce up to 2 million gallons of manure annually.
The industrial hog farm planned for a site two miles west of Arrow Rock has not been built. If local opponents have their way, it never will.
At stake, they say, is the future of one of the most important historic sites in Missouri. Arrow Rock, population 79, has been referred to as the Williamsburg of the Midwest.
“This is a historic site for the state and nation. Arrow Rock is part of everyone’s backyard,” said Kathy Borgman, head of the Friends of Arrow Rock. “This is a spot where history was made. You can’t move it. Who would want to come here if the air stinks so bad you cannot breathe it?”
Her concern mirrors what is happening elsewhere in Missouri, where large concentrated animal feeding operations going in near state parks is sparking resistance from neighbors and park supporters, who want them protected from odor, runoff and other impacts.
Borgman operates a bed and breakfast in Arrow Rock. On a recent Sunday, she served breakfast to John and Virgie Irvin, of Chillicothe. The Irvins, both in their mid-90s, have been longtime supporters of Arrow Rock and its Lyceum Theatre, Missouri’s oldest regional theater.
“It’s a wake-up call for the Legislature. It’s up to the state to protect these public places,” said John Irvin. “But working up a law for the whole state in terms of buffer zones may not be easy. As an example, five miles on either side of the KATY Trail would be a lot of territory.”