By WILL BRUMLEVE
SIBLEY — The Hartman family has agreed to put up a tree line between their proposed hog-confinement facility and the village of Sibley as a wind break to help mitigate the odor of hog manure infiltrating the town, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture said Friday.
The state agency recently approved the Hartmans’ application to build the 5,600-head swine facility west of Sibley, despite objections from both the Sibley Village Board and Ford County Board.
As a condition of approval, the facilty’s owners — Philip, Caleb, Joel and Ryan Hartman — agreed to put up the tree line to help keep prevailing easterly winds from bringing manure odor into the village.
Illinois Department of Agriculture spokesman Morgan Booth said last month that the agency was “requesting some additional information” from the Hartmans before deciding whether their application had met the eight siting criteria of the Livestock Management Facilities Act.
“Our staff had a question about their odor-control plan,” Booth said Friday, explaining that the tree line was the agreed-upon answer.
Earlier this year, trustees for the village of Sibley objected to the facility’s construction along Illinois 165 about 1.5 miles west of Sibley, saying in a letter to the Ford County Board that they were concerned about the possibility that an odor of hog manure could invade the town and subsequently compromise community growth, tourism, recreation and economic development.
The village board asked the county board to issue a non-binding recommendation to the state ag department against approving the facility’s application.
The county board then voted in February to not recommend the facility be built, saying that its construction would not meet one of the eight siting criteria — the one requiring the facility to be “consistent with existing community growth, tourism, recreation or economic development.”
Sibley Village Board President Jim Kearney did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.