Johnson Co. Commission passed resolution against CAFO

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Johnson Countians are beefing up their fight against a dairy farm in order to prevent the concentrated animal feeding operation from moving into the county.
   Two resolutions were approved by county commissioners on Thursday evening in an effort to stop Carolina Holstein from locating its 700 head operation on Dug Hill Road.
   The first resolution was an ordinance which gave the county government empowerment to govern against any business that might be detrimental to the county. County Attorney Bill Cockett researched the ordinance and the commissioners approved the resolution by a majority vote according to County Mayor Dick Grayson.
   The second resolution was brought to the full court by the Citizens for Clean Air and Water organization to "prohibit the CAFO from coming into Johnson County," said Grayson. This resolution passed by a 2/3 vote of the commissioners.
   He said the commission seemed to be pleased with the passing of both resolutions, but he also added that he wouldn't be surprised if Carolina Holstein did pursue legal action against the resolutions, although that has not happened yet.
   Jerry Anderson, owner of Carolina Holstein, wants to locate the CAFO on 150 acres of land on Dug Hill Road. He claims 50 jobs will be created by the dairy farm. However, since he will be moving Carolina Holstein operations from the current site in Granite Falls, N.C., some of the people who are currently employed in that location will be offered the chance to maintain their position in Mountain City.
   The CAFO would cost approximately $3 to $5 million to build the site according to Maymead Inc. Vice President Wiley Roark. The land for the site was to be leased by Maymead to Anderson.
   Johnson Countians are weighing the pros and cons, but many feel the cons outweigh the advantages. Rumors have circulated that antibiotic dust will be used in the business, but Roark refutes that idea because federal regulations prohibit the dust to be used on Grade A dairy cattle.
   Literature has been prepared by some citizens against the CAFO citing degradation of the land, contamination of the water and a decline in property values. Another complaint mentioned by many people will be an undesirable odor throughout the Neva community.
   In other business, the commission approved a private act reinstating law enforcement powers to the Johnson County Constables. Now the private act has to go to the state legislature for approval and then sent back to the commissioners for another 2/3 majority vote to ratify it.