Gage County Board delays action on swine project permit application
BEATRICE - A Gage County farming operation and Summit Pork, Inc. will have to wait several more weeks before action is taken on a special use permit for a 6,250 head swine operation between Pickrell and Adams. The Gage County Board delayed action on the permit Wednesday, opting to wait until soil and water testing is complete and the State of Nebraska signs off on the project.
County Supervisor Emily Haxby said she was not ready to vote on the permit until test results are known and the necessary permitting by the state is approved.
"I'm just saying we need to finish crossing our T's. dotting our I's.....finish this application, before I would be ready to vote."
Summit Pork, based in Alden, Iowa….would be the operator of the swine farm and would store liquid manure in a concrete pit…..to be used by Otto Farms as fertilizer injected into its fields. Project Manager Carl Jacobsen noted the permit application has been on file with Gage County, since January 17th.
"I guess where we're at....all of this is state requirements. We feel like sitting here in this boardroom today, we've met all your requirements...and ultimately, the timeline of us being here for five months....I don't want to stand here, more than you guys want to see me. It's contingent on the state...and we won't be able to operate this facility or build this, unless the state approves us."
The postponement of action could mean the next time the application comes before the county board, would be in June or July. Board member Terry Jurgens had proposed approval of the special use permit at today’s meeting, but pulled his motion….but not without cautioning colleagues over the delay.
"I want everybody to remember, it's a livestock friendly county....livestock friendly since 2011. This permit has been hung out there for way too long. Other companies are going to look at what we're doing here and say, do we want to come into Gage County and put up with this?" If you don't like the rules, change the rules. The rules we have in place right now.....they fit."
Officials also discussed details of wind break screening of the operation during their meeting. The permit application has gone before public hearings both before the county’s planning and zoning commission and the board of supervisors. The county board considers seven separate factors on special use permit applications, as to whether they meet the county’s regulations and fit within its comprehensive zoning plan.
The Gage County Board also has proposed regulations which would govern solar energy projects on their agenda Wednesday…but took no action to finalize them.