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Elderly Fithian Couple Scared Of Moving After Hearing Of Proposed Hog Facilities

Elderly Fithian Couple Scared Of Moving After Hearing Of Proposed Hog Facilities

Hog facilities are on their way to the Village of Fithian in Vermilion County, but some nearby residents are outraged.

Betty Huls has lived in northern Fithian with her husband for more than 60 years.

"How will we be able to live here for the rest of our lives?” Betty Huls asked.

Park Livestock wants to build two hog facilities in the area. If built, those facilities would utilize 14,000 gallons of water a day, while injecting hog manure into 2,000 acres of farm land.

Huls said she's afraid of wells drying out, flooding, water contamination, and health issues like her own asthma.

"It's heartbreaking because they don't want to move anywhere else and basically [Park Livestock] are taking the farm,” Betty’s daughter, Cheryl Huls, said.

One farmer, Stan Johnson, spearheaded a petition to meet with the Parks Livestock representatives.

"That's ludicrous,” he said. “Our legislators must take a look at what's going on."

After over 100 signatures, locals met with the representatives Monday night and voiced their concerns including odor, and declining property values.

But Parks Livestock, with 40 years of swine experience, said this could add about $20 million into the local economy and generate more than $40,000 in new tax revenue to the county.

"This is a very safe and sustainable system,” Parks Livestock President Lawrence Parks said. “We understand the community has concerns... We want to assure everyone that we will meet... All requirements and be good neighbors and stewards to the environment."

Despite that, 85-year-old Betty Huls said she hopes the Department of Agriculture will hear their cries and stop the facilities from coming to the village.

"I might live another ten years and I might not,” she said. “But if it's another ten years and we have all these problems, it will not make me very happy."

The first facility location is at 2000 County Rd. and Interstate 49.

The second facility is only a few miles away near 450 County East and 1900 North.

Within the month of February, the Vermilion County Board may make a recommendation to the State Department of Agriculture.

The department will then have until March 30 to issue permits or ask for more information.

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