Last updated: August 25. 2013 6:22AM - 33 Views

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MICHAEL SCHUMM, WillshireFear is a powerful emotion. Fear of the unknown even more powerful. Parts of Van Wert County are being driven by this fear. Van Wert County has been a predominately grain-based agricultural county for most of the last 30 to 40 years. With the tightening of margins and higher input costs plus trying to include more family members, some farmers have turned to livestock. Hog farms have become more integrated and companies are looking for farmers to raise their pigs. This is causing a great deal of concern among neighbors of these sites. In an effort to find information neighbors have turned to the Internet. As you can imagine they have been able to find just about any information they want and to the delight of some of these sites have created quite a stir in the neighborhood. It has turned well-meaning people into people driven by fear of what they do not know. A hog operation managed properly is but a minor inconvenience to most of the neighbors. I applaud the public officials who attended the citizens group meeting when they told the group they did not have all the facts and would wait until all of the facts could be gathered to react. It should be noted that, while most of these operations are not permitted if there would be a violation, they would then be required to be permitted and have yearly inspections. Not only these size operations but any size operation faces these requirements.While we are not permitted, we own one of these operations and have had favorable reactions from our neighbors who have been more than gracious toward our operation.

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