FAYETTE COUNTY — A deed on 20 acres of farmland on Jones Road has been transferred for $300,000 in a deal aimed at building a large-scale hog facility southwest of Mount Sterling.
The land transfer was made from Duane Matthews to Jones Road Farm, LLC, a limited-liability corporation owned by John Surber of Sabina and filed with the Fayette County Recorder Feb. 16.
The hog facility is expected to house 2,400 hogs and would not be required under state law to meet Ohio Revised Code requirements that regulate those facilities with more than 2,500 hogs.
Neighbors surrounding the 20 acres of farmland on Jones Road raised their voices collectively last year in protest over the proposed hog site.
A close neighbor to the proposed facility, Amy J. LeBeau, suffers from muscular dystrophy and depends on a breathing machine. Neighbors say the hog facility will negatively impact the quality of her life.
Surber, the owner of the hog site, addressed the family at a township hall meeting last year and said the proposed hog facility does not pose a health risk to neighbors in the area.
Surber said that although they are not required to do so by law, they still meet and exceed all state expectations and regulations.
Neighbors closest to the site say that any manure spread on the land surrounding the site won’t be absorbed into the soil because the soil quality is rated the lowest for absorption by the soil and water conservation district.
Surber said he was negotiating the sale of the manure from the hogs to Matthews, who may use it as fertilizer on the land he still owns around the site.
Neighbors rely on drawing water from the ground wells for bathing, eating and drinking and say they will test their water monthly and hold Surber accountable for any harm or damages.
Surber said his hogs are checked by a veterinarian monthly and that the manure is tested before being spread.
Matthews purchased the land from members of the Craig family in 2010. Dal and Jerry Craig-Crawford’s home is beside the 20-acre site for the proposed hog facility. Neighbors and family members say they approached Matthews and asked him to sell the land back to the them instead of selling it off for the construction of the hog facility.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton