Not so hog wild in Colorado

  • Hog in a cage

    National Pork Producers Council
  When D&D; hog farm moved its South Dakota-based operation to northeast Colorado, Sue Jarrett thought she was getting a good neighbor. What she got instead, she says, were overpowering smells and polluted water. "The odor is so sickening that at times it drives you back in your house," says Jarrett, who was born and raised on her family's ranch.


Now Jarrett has joined an unusual coalition of Colorado ranchers, farmers and environmentalists that support a ballot initiative to regulate large hog farms. D&D;, for example, is one of nearly 20 factory-style hog farms that have brought over a million hogs to Colorado's eastern plains since 1989. Colorado continues to draw hog farms like a magnet, says Carmi McLean of the nonprofit Clean Water Action, because the state has no enforceable laws regulating the hundreds of thousands of gallons of waste pigs produce each day.





"It's not the hogs themselves that scare me; it's the numbers," says Ralph Mercer, a Crowley County farmer with 700 hogs. "They will contaminate the groundwater so bad there'll be no water to drink in the state."


Mercer supports the citizens' ballot initiative that would require large hog operations to obtain permits, cover waste lagoons and provide quarterly water and soil quality reports. It would also require farmers to put up financial assurances, similar to damage deposits, so that when hog farms pollute, "taxpayers don't get stuck paying for the mess," says Dave Carter of the Farmers Union.


But Dave Luers of D&D; Farms says the expense of the proposed regulations would close him down. He and other hog farmers have come up with their own initiative, expected to also appear on November's ballot, which makes it illegal to single out and regulate one livestock species over another.


Melissa Elliot of the Farmers Union says its not surprising to see the swine industry putting up a fight. Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma and other states have already regulated large hog operations. "Colorado," she says, "is just about their last frontier." - Jennifer Chergo


High Country News Classifieds
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Mountain Lion Foundation is seeking an Executive Director. Please see our website for further information - mountainlion.org/job-openings
  • WASHINGTON DC REPRESENTATIVE
    Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Washington, DC Position Reports to: Program Director The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) is seeking a Washington, DC Representative...
  • REGIONAL CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER
    Position Title: Regional Campaign Organizers (2 positions) Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Preferred Billings, MT; remote location within WORC's region (in or near Grand Junction...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....