Egg Farm hearing

Bouse resident Kirby Wise (left) expresses his concerns over a proposed new egg farm at a public hearing held Aug. 5 at the Bouse Community Center. Listening to his comments were Bill Lichtenberg (seated, left) and Naveen D. Savarirayan from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Some Bouse residents had comments about a proposed second egg farm near their community. Most of the concerns expressed at a public hearing Aug. 5 had to do with odors from the existing facility they claim make it difficult to breathe. There were also concerns over dust from truck traffic and wear and tear on area roads.

The public hearing was part of the process of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issuing a Class II Air Quality Permit for Rose Acre Farms’ Desert Valley Egg Farm. The meeting was held at the Bouse Community Center and was presided over by Naveen D. Savarirayan, manager of ADEQ’s Air Permits Unit, and Bill Lichtenberg, ADOT Engineer.

Savarirayan and Licthenberg said they were there to hear public comments on the Air Quality Permit, and they were not allowed to address any questions during the hearing. However, they said they would be glad to discuss concerns with members of the audience once the hearing was over. They added that, by law, ADEQ must consider all comments in the decision to issue the permit.

This is the second egg farm Rose Acre Farms wants to operate in La Paz County.

One of the first concerns raised was the location. Some people in the audience said they didn’t know where the facility would be, although the mailing address listed it as Salome. They said ADEQ should have provided a map showing where the location would be.

The location, 52749 68th Street, is approximately six miles southeast of Rose Acre Farms’ current egg farm off State Route 72 near Utting. The new farm will be located off McVey Road, west of SR 72.

Resident Kirby Wise said the odors were bad, and he didn’t move to the area to have industry pollute the air.

“Only a crazy person would want to live here now,” he said.

Wise said the odors make it difficult to breathe at times. He said he basically wants to be left alone, but he was very concerned because they were interfering with his health and the health of his family.

Wise said Rose Acre Farms is a corporation out to make money, and the government is run by corporations.

“All they care about is money,” he said.

Ken Schwagel said he had up to 100 vehicles pass his home each day. He said the county is no longer watering the road, and there is a lot of dust.

Nance Franklin said she lives close to Wise, and she shares his concerns. She said Rose Acre Farms has improved their air quality, but there are still odors. She said this leads to her having trouble breathing.

Robert Brown said he lives on County Road 41-and-a-half, close to Wise and Franklin. He said he also found it difficult to breathe because of the odors. He said Rose Acre Farms needs to build a new filtration system before they build a new egg farm.

Savarirayan and Licthenberg spoke with the residents following the hearing. They told them to document cases incidents of bad odors, and said ADEQ would come out to investigate them.

Rose Acre Farms first egg farm in La Paz County, the Lone Cactus Egg Farm, is located south of Bouse on SR 72. It received its Class II Air Quality Permit on Nov. 19, 2018. It expires on Nov. 18, 2023.

Rose Acre Farms had to meet several stipulations to have the permit approved. To deal with odors from chicken manure, they must operate an in-house manure drying system at all times. Within 72 hours after removing manure from a laying house, the manure must be removed from the facility or covered with weather-proof covering.

As for dust from the facility, ADEQ required Rose Acre Farms use water and chemical dust suppressants on unpaved roads in their facility, and that they impose a 10 mph speed limit. ADEQ also said they would investigate complaints of excessive dust or speed by any vehicles.

Rose Acre Farms, which is based in Seymour, Ind., is the second largest egg producer in the United States. Their brands include Eggland’s Best. They employ 2,000 people nationwide. Their egg farms south of Bouse are the largest economic development La Paz County has ever seen. In December 2018, they opened a new grain terminal and a railroad spur to the Lone Cactus Egg Farm.

The efforts at getting Rose Acre Farms to locate in La Paz County were led by Skip Becker of the La Paz Economic Development Corporation. Arizona Public Service sold their property for the egg farm. The Arizona & California Railroad was also very much involved in the process.

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