On Oct. 12, the Delta County Farm and Livestock Bureau held a benefit fundraiser to collect money to help the Hostetler family pay their legal expenses.
They are in an appeal of the order by the 7th Judicial District Court to cease their organic, cage-free, free range chicken egg laying operation on Powell Mesa north of Hotchkiss.
To date, over $17,500 has been donated by local residents to aid in that legal defense. Donations received so far have come from residents of Gunnison, Montrose, Mesa and Delta counties. Recognizing the threat to their local community, more than 400 people supported the Oct. 12 benefit fundraiser held at the Delta County Fairgrounds.
In 2011 the Hostetlers successfully went through the Delta County planning process. The Hostetlers' facilities met the requirements of Delta County, which are beyond what the EPA requires for an operation of its size. Neither the EPA nor the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment consider the Hostetlers' operation a confined animal feeding operation because it is too small to have an increased potential impact to air, water and land quality. In spite of meeting these regulations, some neighbors complained and filed suit in district court.
"Agriculture has always been a way of life in Delta County," said Chann Fogg, fruit grower from Cedaredge. "The Hostetler family has worked to preserve this way of life through their small, local, organic family farm, raising a high quality Colorado product for consumers. No farmer or rancher should be faced with the hardships they have had to endure."
Plateau, Inc., an environmental science and engineering consulting firm, was hired by the Delta County Health Department to determine the air quality surrounding the chicken barn, and found it equal to that typical in agricultural areas.
Many neighbors of the Hostetlers' facility report that they suffer no ill effects from the operation. In fact, the Hostetler family lives in two homes near their barn, and work daily within the barn, yet they have reported no health problems.
On Sept. 5, the 7th Judicial District Court directed Delta County to issue a cease and desist order to the Hostetler Family Farm. Currently both Delta County and Hostetler family appeals are before the Colorado Court of Appeals, asking for the district court's ruling to be overturned.blog comments powered by Disqus