WENONA — The proposed hog factory farm facility planned for Wenona is still in limbo.
VMC Management of Iowa continues to push for the Sandy Creek LLC facility, which would house an estimated 20,000 hogs while contributing up to 20 jobs for the area. Many local residents are overwhelmingly opposed to the hog farm, citing damage to local roads and businesses and possibly irreparable impact on the aquifer which provides water to most area residents.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has yet to approve the project since VMC has not yet addressed concerns the facility does not meet Illinois environmental standards. That is a situation that may have changed.
“We sent an e-mail to the company on Oct. 8,” Illinois Department of Agriculture Environmental program manager Brad Beaver said. “We received a response on the 14th, but we have yet to act upon it. The case is under review.”
Beaver said if the outstanding questions are satisfactorily answered, the department will issue a permit.
In the meantime, VMC is also pressuring local authorities to allow the facility’s construction.
Last month, the developers threatened Marshall-Putnam County Engineer Patrick Sloan with a lawsuit, claiming he falsely filed a negative review of a road plan that is integral to the factory farm’s construction. Sloan reported the main road for the facility was not rated high enough to support the weight of the trucks expected on the road, and the $1,400 annual impact fee from the company was insufficient for road maintenance. The road in question — County Road 2800 East — is rated at 72,000 pounds from May to January and 42,400 pounds from February to April. Trucks using the road are expected to carry 80,000-pound loads.
The developers of Sandy Creek LLC claim Sloan’s report is unfounded, and he is personally using his position to block the construction of the hog facility.
Even if approved, the factory farm faces resistance from local residents and government officials. In May, the Marshall County Board voted 14 to 1 against recommending site approval to the IDA, citing negative impact on the surrounding environment, residents and businesses.
The proposed site for the hog facility is in northwest Marshall County within a few miles of both LaSalle and Putnam counties.