Hog farm near Buffalo River to close after buyout

Friday, June 21, 2019

Carroll County News

A hog farming operation located in the watershed of the Buffalo National River will shut down as part of a $6.2 million agreement with the Department of Arkansas Heritage and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

C&H Hog Farms Inc. had drawn the scrutiny of environmentalists and state regulators since it began operation in 2013 on Big Creek, less than seven miles upstream from the Buffalo.

Hutchinson announced the agreement Thursday morning, June 13, at an Arkansas Municipal League Luncheon in downtown Little Rock.

“Let me emphasize that the farmers — Jason Henson, Richard Campbell and Philip Campbell — obtained the permit fairly and have operated the hog farm with the utmost care from the beginning,” Hutchinson said. “They have not done anything wrong, but the state should never have granted that permit for a large-scale hog farm operation in the Buffalo River watershed.”

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ordered the hog farm to close in November 2018 based on concerns over the facility’s impact to water quality and other factors. C&H filed several appeals, and Hutchinson said a protracted legal battle wasn’t in the best interest of either side of the issue.

“This has been the source of constant controversy and litigation since the beginning,” Hutchinson said. “It has always been my highest priority to protect the Buffalo River and ensure it as a national treasure far into the future.”

Most of the $6.2 million buyout will come from public money, with The Nature Conservancy paying up to $1 million.

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