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Wenona resident Karen Hudson speaks Tuesday at the Wenona Uptown Pavilion to about two dozen people rallying against a proposed hog facility near town. 

WENONA — About two dozen residents met in the Wenona Uptown Pavilion on Tuesday to urge the Illinois Department of Agriculture to turn down a proposed large-scale hog facility.

“I’ve been fighting this kind of thing for 16 years,” said resident Karen Hudson before the meeting.

She said she is a meat eater so she doesn't oppose raising livestock in principle, but the VMC Management Corp. proposal to house thousands of hogs in three large buildings near Sandy Creek northwest of town has not been studied environmentally. 

Her opinion was echoed by the other scheduled speakers.

Most of the audience belonged to Save Our Sandy, a group of residents that organized after plans were announced earlier this year.

The state ag department announced this week that it needed more information in the case, but set no timetable for a decision.

The location was unsuitable for a hog farm, said geologist Mike Phillips, who lives one mile “downwind” from the site. All environmental considerations were ignored, he said.

Manure disposal, odor control, road access and water supply safety are among the issues.

Representatives of the Willamsburg, Iowa, business seeking approval for the facility were not at the meeting but have stated all such concerns will be met. 

The audience also was urged to support legislation giving more local control over such operations. The Marshall County Board voted against the facility  last month, though the vote is only advisory.

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Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for The Pantagraph.

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