Letter about February 16 Public Hearing…
To the Editor,
Please be aware that the February 16, 7 p.m., Fillmore County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) public hearing proposal is a significant change to the status quo and is likely to have some profound ripple effects for all county residents.
Currently, 2,000 animal units (existing county cap) allows about 2,000 cattle or 5,000 hogs. If you double those numbers (proposed cap is 4,000 au), a single operation could house nearly half as many hogs as the county has residents! I learned from P&Z that most recent livestock startups in the county are quite far beneath the current caps, that only one county operation was approaching the current limit, but no expansion plans have yet been requested or are being processed and that P&Z brought forth the suggested changes to anticipate possible future producer needs.
Additional questions remain to be answered. For example: Are the proposed number limits desirable? Will marketing opportunities and the livelihoods of smaller existing livestock farms be adversely affected? Should the county limit the total number of new large operations to protect aquifers or prevent electrical blackouts? Will the proposed changes benefit the majority of the county’s population? What are likely impacts on tourism and other businesses and individuals? What happens to the health and safety of Fillmore County if another crisis occurs, requiring livestock to be euthanized or locally disposed?
We all know what has happened since 2020, and how power and control can radically change lives. How much is enough and when is enough plenty? We as a people need to responsibly use our critical thinking skills and gather together to exchange ideas. Please mark you calendar, attend, and participate. This hearing is important. Resulting decisions on such issues are almost certain to not be reversed.