MUNCIE — Agriculture advocate Joe Russell is calling a draft county ordinance to regulate industrial livestock farms "a giant step backward" for livestock farming.
Others characterize it as a good compromise.
"In the preamble it says it's supportive of agriculture blah, blah, blah," Russell said at a recent meeting of the Muncie-Delaware Metropolitan Plan Commission. "Well, this is not supportive of animal agriculture."
A corn and soybean grower, Russell said the ordinance "did pretty well" at mapping sparsely populated areas of Delaware County. But the proposed ordinance then establishes setbacks of livestock farms from the nearest residences, subdivisions, cities, towns, churches, schools and recreation areas that are too far, he said.
Russell and pork producer Eugene Whitehead, the owner/operator of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), sat on a seven-member committee that drafted the ordinance. But Russell said he and Whitehead were outnumbered. They felt like the sheep in the story about two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner, Russell said.
The committee voted 5-2 to forward the proposed ordinance to the plan commission, which tabled action until Nov. 1.
The ordinance was backed by Purdue Extension educator Mark Carter; plan commission director Marta Moody; CAFO opponents/rural residents Elizabeth Driscoll and Jennifer Irving; and Jeff Turner, an environmental health specialist for the county. Russell and Whitehead voted no.