Hog buying stations north of Austin gets permit green light
By Tim Ruzek
The Post-Bulletin, Austin MN
How they voted
Mower County Board — approval of a conditional use permit for a livestock buying station in Lansing Township
Yes —Mike Ankeny, Tim Gabrielson, David Hillier and Ray Tucker.
No —Dick Lang.
Mower County leaders approved a conditional-use permit Tuesday for a company to create a hog buying station along U.S. 218, north of Austin, despite getting a petition signed by dozens of people opposing it.
After an hour-long discussion, the Mower County Board voted 4-1 to approve the permit for Lynch Livestock Inc. to operate on nearly three acres at 27392 U.S. 218 in Lansing Township, just north of the former Lansing Corners restaurant. The village of Lansing is southeast of it.
The county zoning ordinance for an agricultural district requires a conditional-use permit for an agriculturally oriented business.
Under the plans, Lynch Livestock Inc., headquartered in Waucoma, Iowa, will run an operation there to purchase farmers' rejected or culled hogs, such as those too light in weight or with injuries. The hogs then are transported for sale elsewhere.
It's another opportunity for farmers to sell their swine, officials said.
Austin attorney Paul Sween, who represents Lynch Livestock, said the property likely will attract about three to five trailers of hogs on any day but never more than 300 animals on the site. Generally, hogs will be dropped off and sold from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the animals transported to Iowa in the afternoon, he said.
"We're going to be moving those hogs as soon as possible," said Ken Hemesath, a buildings manager for Lynch Livestock, who estimated about 100 to 120 animals arriving there per day.
County officials decided the business would meet the ordinance's setbacks, delivery trucks would be minimal or a low volume, and odor would be controlled and kept to a minimum by the type of bedding and disposal method.
The permit request now goes to the Lansing Township Board for approval. County officials expect to approve a feedlot permit administratively for it later.
State transportation officials also need to approve plans for access to and from U.S. 218 North from the site, which will have a widened driveway after the removal of a south-side row of trees.
Four citizens attended the meeting, with two speaking against the project. After the board's vote, one man told the board its decision was "dumb."
Another man, Jim Rinehart, who lives near the site, told board members they must be getting a great "kickback" with their vote.
Rinehart earlier gave the board a petition opposing hogs at the property, with signatures from nearly 60 people living in that area. He expressed several concerns, especially with the operation's odor affecting Lansing.
There must be other places more suitable for this operation, Rinehart said.
Holding up the petition, board member Dick Lang, who represents Austin's east side, said that, until the number of people opposed is reduced, "you haven't won my vote." Lang said he works for the people of Mower County and has to listen to them.
Fellow board member David Hillier, a livestock producer, led the board's support for the business, noting it meets the county's rules and laws. Hillier reminded everyone that Mower County is an agricultural county.
"If we do not stand up for some of these agricultural pursuits and agricultural areas, this board of commissioners, in my opinion, is not doing our job for a rural community, for a rural area," Hillier said.
Lynch Livestock's pork marketing division operates 38 locations in 10 Midwest states, marketing different qualities and weights of animals specifically to 39 packing plants in the United States.