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Taurus Sow to build bigger manure pit

After a public hearing with no public input, the Union County Supervisors approved the Master Matrix evaluation for Taurus Sow southeast of Kent to replace their manure pit with a larger one.

The master matrix is a scoring system used by the Department of Natural Resources in Iowa to determine if confinement feeding operations will be allowed on a particular site. The proposed facility must score above 50% of the available points and above 25% on each of three subcategories of air, water and community impacts. Out of 99 counties in Iowa, 89 use the Master Matrix.

Supervisors Dennis Brown and Ron Riley had personally inspected the site they said during the weekly supervisors meeting Monday at the Union County Courthouse. They were present when the DNR inspector toured the facility and agreed with the assessment. The score of 485 points exceeded the necessary score of 440.

“They are tearing out a little manure structure and putting in a lot larger one,” Brown said. “It’s concrete and steel, probably 20-25 feet tall and will not be covered.”

Taurus Sow has been in this location since around 1998. Riley said the plan does not add additional animal capacity to the facility. The facility owns approximately 500 acres of land, where they spread most of the resulting manure as fertilizer.

“I thought the site was very well maintained,” Riley said.

In other county business:

• a public hearing is expected to be set at the Aug. 3 meeting to discuss the sale of real estate acquired by tax sale and abandonment.

• the supervisors discussed changes to the procurement policy, which requires board approval for certain purchases over $500. County Auditor Sandy Hysell said the policy has not been changed for many years.

• a computer purchase by secondary roads was approved.

• the board discussed the efficiency of secondary roads and the cost versus value of adding another road crew or using contracted labor.

• the board gave Union County Engineer the go-ahead to begin the process of replacing the Joshua bridge after he received a $60,000 check for prior projects from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

• the supervisors discussed road issues in and near the wind turbine sites, with Gunsolley saying MidAmerican has handled issues promptly most of the time without being contacted, although some phone calls have been needed.

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