Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Losing Home to Raise Hogs

Legal fight over hog operation forcing farmer to sell his home
But Robert Young expects to ship first pigs this spring

Posted Jan 13, 2009 @ 12:05 AM

ROCHESTER — Robert Young spent the better part of the last year and a half fighting a lawsuit aimed at stopping him from building a large-scale hog farm between Rochester and Buckhart.

Now, because of the expense of the legal fight, he’s being forced to auction off his house.Young thought the start of 2009 would see him finally starting the 3,600-head operation and collecting thousands of dollars in damages from the Rochester Buckhart Action Group, or RBAG, a not-for-profit corporation of about five area residents who sued to try and stop him.

“I got my hopes up,” Young, of Rochester, said Monday, citing decisions by a state appellate court and the Illinois Supreme Court overturning Sangamon County Circuit Judge Leslie Graves’ injunction blocking the hog farm.

With the injunction lifted, work is progressing on the hog barn, and Young said he anticipates the first shipment of pigs this spring under an agreement with Cargill Corp.

Meanwhile, though, he and his wife, Sandra, are facing foreclosure on their 37-year-old home, about one-fourth of a mile from the hog operation. Read More

Unfortunately, situations likes these usually turn into a game of who has the biggest pile of money. These “concerned neighbors” didn’t have much to lose, but Young has everything to lose, especially his livelihood. A livestock producer should not have to lose his house to defend his ability to produce food and fiber for 144 of his neighbors. Best wishes to Robert Young. If it weren’t for dedicated people like Young, we would not have the safest, least expensive food supply in the world. And shame on you RBAG.

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