Rules for raising hogs in Indiana could change

Hogs are shown in a confined feeding operation. (WISH Photo)

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Pork farming is big business in Indiana, and it’s often controversial.

But have you ever stopped to think where the pork on your plate comes from?

Indiana Pork Producers say farmers contribute $14 billion and 13,000 jobs to the Hoosier economy, but the rules for hog producers might be changing after a committee meeting this week about CAFOs.

Heather Hill and her family are pig experts. They own Hill Farms in Greenfield, where they’ve raised pigs for a few years.

“We feel blessed and lucky,” Hill said.

They run a confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, with large temperature-controlled rooms and feeding areas. Hill said the hogs have access to food 24 hours a day.

“Our family used to raise pigs outdoors,” she said. “That might sound great and grand, but we can’t feed a lot of people like that.”

Hill said they have about 2,400 pigs at their family farm. She told 24-Hour News 8 she knows about the controversy.

“We want to be good neighbors. We want to follow the rules,” she said. “We care about this land. We care about our state.”

Last month, Richard Himsel told 24-Hour News 8 his home value plummeted because of the smell of a CAFO near his home. He said it was so bad his wife can’t spend nights there anymore.

“I’m just like everybody else,” Himsel said in September. “I worked hard to get what I have. And now, because of this, it has taken away from me,”

Heather Hill said they grew cornfields and lined the farm with trees to help control the smell.

“We want to make sure that it’s not a nuisance to our neighbors,” she said.

Hill explained that manure goes under the building within concrete, and is eventually put into the soil to grow corn to feed the pigs.

“We care very much about this environment. It’s the same land my children live on. It’s the water that my children drink and the air that they breathe,” she said.

On Thursday morning, an agricultural committee is scheduled to meet at the Statehouse and talk about CAFO rules and regulations.

Hill said she wants to know if the rules change.

“That there’s been a lot of thought put behind them and the sciences behind them. That it wasn’t just an emotional decision that someone thought sounded good on paper. This is our livelihood.”