Editor's Note - We got an email from Sam Hancock, Curtis Hancock's son, responding to this story. His response is posted below the story.
We received the photo below taken in late July. We can't tell what sort of manure it is from the picture. Jackson and his supporters say hog manure. Mr. Hancock says chicken waste.
Murray State News ran a story about hog farms.
Fulton KY Monday, August 25th We arrived at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Fulton at the lunch break between the morning and afternoon segments of the Tour de Stench of Graves and Fulton Counties sponsored by the Sierra Club.
Gene Nettles steered me to a man in tee shirt and jeans who had been waiting for the Tour to stop in Fulton.
“This is Ed Jackson”. Gene said and then rushed off to greet the next guest at the door.
Ed Jackson lives in rural Water Valley, a wide spot in the road where three counties come together – Graves, Fulton and Hickman. Ed’s a Hickman County High graduate, Class of ’72. He works second shift at the Letica plant in Fulton County.
He once enjoyed sitting out on the deck of his house to relax. Not anymore. More often than not, he says, he can’t sit out on the deck. The smell is more than he can stand. Ed has the bad fortune of living within a half mile of Curtis Hancock’s farm.
Mr. Hancock farms 3000 acres, grows soybeans and corn and recently began a commercial hog farm operation. The farm has two barns, each housing about two thousand pigs. The smell from the barns doesn’t always reach Ed’s house, but when it does, the stench makes the deck unusable.
He says that’s not the only problem. About a month ago, his wife came home, put the car in the garage and told Ed there was a spill of hog crap on Highway 94 and it was on the car. He told her to “get the car out” before the smell got into the garage.
Ed called Hancock who told him that the spill wasn’t hog manure. The spill was chicken waste. Unconvinced, Ed then called neighbor Bill Fenwick, a local farmer who agreed with him- the spill was hog manure.
Wastes from both animals are used as a fertilizer. Chicken manure gets sprayed on fields at planting. Hog waste is injected into the soil. The problem, according to farmer Bill Fenwick, is that the process of injecting manure is too slow for the fast paced, high tech farms of West Kentucky. When a field is ready to plant, the farmer doesn’t want to wait for injection. Spraying is faster and the smell dissipates within a few days of application.
The sheer volume of hog waste compared to a barn full of chickens is, no pun intended, breath taking. One barn of hogs produces one million gallons of waste a year. That’s over 83,000 gallons each month from one barn alone.
Ed told of seeing a hose of supposedly injectable hog manure blowing onto the ground. He also says there was a second road spill only a few weeks before on Hollon Lane. He called the Environmental Protection Agency in Paducah and has yet to receive an answer.
Ed says he has no beef with people trying to make a living raising hogs. He just wants the farmer to put filters on the hog barn fans, which will cut the smell. He also worries about what may get into the water table. What would happen, he asks, if his well is fouled with hog waste?
Ed Jackson isn’t anti-anything. He’s a man that wants to use his deck.
Sam Hancock's Response:
I was deeply disappointed in you article "Hog Farm Neighbor Wants Peaceful Enjoyment." Did anyone from this organization bother contacting Curtis Hancock for comment. If you would have you could have learned how few facts Mr. Jackson and Mr. Fenwick gave you in their interview. First Curtis Hancock has never had any ownership in any livestock production in his 35+ years of farming. Â I am assuming that the Hog farm your article refers to belongs to me "Sam Hancock."
Second, a truck driver from a custom chicken litter operation from Graves County got lost on one of his deliveries and ended up on Hwy 94 in Hickman County in
July. As he drove in front of Mr. Hancock's house, the tailgate popped open and Chicken litter spilled on the road. I was in my parents front yard when it happened. I
immediately called the owner of the truck then jumped in our water truck to start helping him clean up the mess.(I am assuming he saw us washing the road with our water truck and assumed that it was hog manure coming out on the road. This seems ridiculous considering there were solids on the road and water coming out of the hose). The truck owner then called the Water Valley fire department and they assisted in the clean up. You can verify these points with the fire department and with the Kentucky Environmental Protection Cabinet who also visited the scene. Mr. Jackson then came to my fathers h ouse andÂ proceeded to engage my
father in a confrontational (to put it mildly) discussion. My father told him that it was chicken litter and that neither the litter nor the truck were owned by us. He all
but called my father a liar and left. I then called the owner of the truck and asked if he would call Mr. Jackson and straighten things out. He made the call and then
called me back letting me know that he had offered to come wash Mr. Jackson's car and he refused so he asked if he could send him a check to cover the expense and any inconvenience. The owner of the truck told me he sent the check that day. This took place in July.
We do not have fields without crops in them where we could even apply hog manure. We finished injecting in April and will not resume until the crops are out in the fall. Also the truck was towing a rectangular dump trailer. Â Hog manure can only be hauled in tankers (round tank trailer) because it is 94% water.
Third, Â Mr. Fenwick made the comment we were spraying manure on the field. Not only is this statement not true, but Mr. Fenwick knows it is not true. He has sewed us for over 2 years trying to stop us from raising hogs. He has read our permits and knows that we are required to inject. If we spray hog manure on our fields, our permits could be revoked. This was intellectually dishonest on his part to make that statement.
Finally, I believe that Mr. Jackson has smelled my hog barns on occasion. Â I have several neighbors that whose judgement I trust and I get feedback from them regularly. Last year the closes neighbor was able to smell the barns on 25 different days for an average of 30minutes/day. This year I made some changes and that number is now between 15 and 20 days. I am going to do more this winter that will hopefully improve that number even more. My issue with Mr. Jackson is that he decided to put in a modular home near our farm after construction on the hog facility began. This issue was given constant local media coverage so it is hard
to believe that Mr. Jackson did not know what was going on. Â Basically he decided to build a house near a hog farm and now proceeds to complain about the smell.
The bottom line is that I love my Neighbors and I want to b e a good neighbor. The other side of this is that the world's food has to be grown somewhere. The most logical place to produce food is in the country. If someone chooses to live in the country in an Agricultural community, they should expect to sometimes be impacted by agriculture just like someone who chooses to live in a city can expect to be impacted by traffic and noise. You mention in another article the volume of manure produced by the hog facilities but you fail to mention that the manure has about $85,000 in fertilizer value. You also don't mention that my facility feeds about 30,000 people per year.
I would like to challenge y ou in the future to look at both sides of the issue so your readers can judge. I would also request that you contact anyone who you are attacking in an article to make sure you have received correct
information. Â Please either remove this article or correct the errors and tell both sides of the story.
Thank you for your time.