ASHLAND, Ore.-- A neighborhood in Ashland is worried about the potential growth of a hog farm on one of its hillsides. The "Don't Uproot Ashland!" committee said it poses possible health issues to the entire town of Ashland. The owners of the hog farm, Uproot Meats LLC, said not only are they following the law, they are doing everything they can to implement safe and sustainable farming practices.
Uproot meats co-owner Krista Vegter said she understands her neighbors concerns with the hog farm but wants to reassure them they are doing everything right.
"We're here on the farm and have been every day since we started this operation. We definitely feel comfortable and confident and are addressing every step and measure that we can take," Vegter added.
The 28-acre hog farm that's been in operation for about two and half years. The owners want to add a chicken-slaughtering and meat processing facility on site. Their permit application to do so was tentatively approved by Jackson County Development Services. Surrounding neighbors like the idea of the free-range farm in Ashland but they don't like that it's on a slope right above a Talent Irrigation District (TID) waterway and possibly susceptible to erosion.
“We're concerned about runoff into the ground and surface water. We're concerned about the TID canal. The TID canal serves as a backup water supply for the city of Ashland. We’re concerned about our food safety and water safety, air quality in public health in general," said neighbor Denise Krause.
Krause created a GoFundMe page under the name “Don't Uproot Ashland!” to raise money for an appeal filing fee and a retainer to hire a land use attorney. The group submitted that appeal Friday, December 7th.
Vegter said she and her co-owner are taking extra steps to make sure erosion and water contamination don't happen like moving the pigs further and further away from the waterway.
"We have to crack the eggs to make an omelet and we're in the process of cracking the eggs. Lomakatsi is coming in and addressing the old burn damage that was done to the property. We're addressing the work we've done and taking measurements, above and beyond," Vegter added.