Sierran Masthead

Battle Rages to Keep Animal Factory Out of County

By Jolinda Buchanan
Indiana Conservation Organizer, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter

Folks in southern Indiana are continuing to live a nightmare that only seems to get worse. This account is from the front lines of a citizens group battling a permitted 30,000-head turkey factory farm in Dubois County.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has approved a permit to build the 30,000 head turkey factory farm in Celestine, Indiana. The area of the site contains 20+ drainage tiles that feed into nearby ditches, creeks, streams, a neighbor’s pond, and eventually the Patoka River.

Nearby neighbors filed complaints regarding foam in the pond, manure-saturated land, uncovered piles of turkey manure, and flies. One particular neighbor paid out of pocket to have his pond water tested due to foam flowing when turkey manure was applied to the land at the site.

Joe and Rosemarie, both cancer survivors, live adjacent to site. They retired to this tranquil country setting a little over a year ago. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from savings to build their dream home. They fear what the factory farm will do to the environment, property values, and their already comprised immune systems.

Veronica Mehringer, an 86-year-old widow, resides directly across from the site and has for 64 years. Veronica laments she was never consulted, informed, or notified of the factory farm. She worries about her health, the flies, and the odor. She has already experienced days her windows must stay shut due to turkey manure applications onto the field at the site. She can not afford to run the air conditioner and for health reasons cannot spray for pests associated with the manure.

The citizens have filed an appeal with the state and just finished their first administrative hearing. Their fight continues with their next hearing scheduled for this month.

If you’d like to help in their efforts or know of a similar situation in your area, please contact (812) 392-2636. Additional details can also be found at:

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[12/5/02]efp

Winter 2002-2003