Gosh...we must be doing something right to have David Kuntz and Tom Kay frothing at the mouth week after week in support of the Hostetlers, spewing half-truths and misinformation like politicians running for office. So much to correct, and so little space, so I'll just touch on several items for a start.
First, I would suggest that Mr. Kuntz, a Farm Bureau board member, familiarize himself with the USDA regulations that mandate the animal equivalents used by the states for uniformity purposes. It is the USDA, NOT the opposition, as he claims, that sets the animal equivalent of 183 cows = 15000 laying hens. I appreciate the math lesson, but the regulations are very clear and leave no room for personal interpretation and fuzzy math.
Mr. Kuntz is also fond of pointing out that agriculture is the largest single contributor to the economics of this county. I appreciate agriculture as much as anyone else, but his opinion misses the mark by a mile. I would suggest that Mr. Kuntz familiarize himself with the state demographics website. On there, he'd learn that production ag in this county is not even close to being the top economic producer. Uhhh, that spot is reserved for us "lowly retirees" so despised by certain commissioners. Next on the list is...get this...commuters. Yep. They provide more input to the county coffers than production ag. Total ag, which includes ALL agribusiness and production ag, is still a full 5 percentage points behind retirees, and 15 percentage points behind retirees and commuters combined. Large numbers of retirees and commuters live in the unincorporated areas of the county, but according to a past diatribe by Commissioner Olen Lund on KVNF radio, retirees are bad, bad, bad for the county. Seems to me that we're a pretty valuable resource, and should be recognized as such.
Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Kay keep carping on this being a right-to-farm issue. I would suggest that they both read the transcript of the Aug. 29, 2011, decision hearing that is in the record. Pay particular attention to Commissioner Olen Lund's determination that right-to-farm did not apply to the Hostetler applications. The judge and all attorneys simply agreed with him. And by the way, unless they want to build a confined animal operation or a slaughter house, neither the Hostetler case nor the county's regulations apply to Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Kay, despite their fantasy that farmers and ranchers have something to fear. Traditional farmers and ranchers, like Mr. Kuntz and Mr. Kay, are exempt from the county's regulations. So what's with the fear campaign?
Now, about the neighbors' medical records that they keep crying about. There was ample opportunity for the defendants to ask for the complete medical records during the Part 106 (a)(4) proceeding. If Mr. Nordstrom would have bothered to investigate the health complaints, as he told Judge Patrick in sworn testimony that he would do, and had he asked for all medical information, it almost certainly would have been given to him. But then, that means he would have had to investigate! The plaintiffs raised the negative health issues with the county starting in June, 2012, and at the Sept. 4, 2012, public hearing on remand. The final ruling was issued by Judge Patrick on Sept. 5, 2013. The defendants' attorneys had over a year to request that neighbors provide complete medical records to them, but apparently they just didn't get around to it. The record is now closed, this case is at the appellate level, and now the Hostetler defense decides it wants the records...Well, GO FISH.
Finally, the plaintiffs are receiving tremendous support from The Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP), labeled "liberal" by Mr. Kuntz because it supports traditional, sustainable ag and the environment. SRAP did donate a $2,000 grant to CLUC, but more importantly, they have generously shared their vast resources of scientific literature, their poultry experts and facility engineers to assist us at every turn. Mr. Kuntz's feelings toward SRAP are certainly explained by the "60 Minutes: Farm Bureau Documentary" which I've posted at www.clucnorthfork.org for your viewing pleasure. You can also view a memo from Mr. Nordstrom with photos taken 10 hours after depopulation of the Powell Mesa facility. Please notice in the photos that the manure inside the grates is a foot deep, and there is virtually none between the grates and the wall. There is almost none there because the cage-free hens, with access to that area, pulverized the manure into fine particulates and it has been discharged out of the facility and blown onto the downwind neighbors. That's the problem with this facility in our low humidity conditions; the setback is simply insufficient to safeguard the health of the neighbors. What's so difficult to grasp about that?
I'm sure I've used my allotted space, but here's a little musing for the BoCC. Why would any company want to set up a $50 or $100 million business in this county, employing hundreds, just to have a confined animal operation approved 800' upwind from them the day they open their doors. What a vision for this county!