The water quality of America's first national river and the economic stability of the region are threatened by an industrial pig farm in Newton County, Arkansas.
The Buffalo River is America’s first national river and a beloved national park. Offering extraordinary recreational opportunities along 135 miles of free flowing river, the Buffalo plays a major role in attracting nearly 1.5 million visitors annually who spend more than $60 million in nearby communities. These visitors float and fish the river, tour historic and prehistoric sites, and hike the parks’ 100 miles of trails. They spend money at local businesses, supporting many local jobs, and also help to maintain property values by retiring in the region.
Only 11 percent of the river’s watershed is within the national park boundary, so the health of this pristine river is dependent upon the water quality of its tributaries, many of which lie outside the park’s boundaries. The C & H factory hog farm lies on the banks of Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo National River, and threatens the health of the river and the visitor experience.
The facility, permitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and built to supply pork to Cargill, is the first large swine concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in the state (Cargill has since sold its swine division to JBS, a multinational corporation based in Brazil). The 6,500 pigs kept at the farm generate 2.6 million gallons of manure and wastewater annually that is distributed onto nearby fields.
C & H’s most recent state permit expired on October 31, 2016. The company has applied to the state of Arkansas for a new permit which, if approved, will allow C & H to operate permanently in the Buffalo National River watershed. In addition, a separate farm known as EC Farms has been approved by the state to spread up to 6.4 million gallons of waste from C & H on 30 different land parcels totaling more than 500 acres within the Buffalo National River watershed. This increase in the amount of waste C & H can spread within the region virtually rings the small town of Mount Judea, Arkansas, in hog waste.
The Buffalo River Coalition, which includes the Ozark Society, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the Arkansas Canoe Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, has been working for years to protect the Buffalo River from this hog farm. Together, they requested the completion of a full Environmental Impact Statement that considers all available science and data. The Final Environmental Assessment on C&H Hog Farms, located upstream of Buffalo National River, in Newton County, Arkansas, was released in December 2015.
More than 1,200 Comments Sent
NPCA supporters asked USDA Farm Service Agency to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement on C&H Hog Farms and the Buffalo River.
More than 190 Arkansas Supporters Took Action
Arkansas supporters sent comments to the USDA and SBA and urged them to take a hard look at the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the industrial hog farm.
More than 18,000 Spoke Up for the Buffalo River
National park advocates urged Arkansas officials to deny C&H Hog Farm, Inc.'s permit to continue operating in the Buffalo National River watershed.
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