Kansas Supreme Court to decide hog farm conflict

A Kansas farmer sidestepped maximum limits on the number of hogs in a single location near a creek after an environmental group won a lawsuit against him.


State News

February 6, 2023 - 1:39 PM

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall questions aspects of Elisabeth Frost, representing League of Women Voters, during her argument Wednesday morning for the League of Women Voters, et al v. Schwab case. Photo by Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court must arbitrate conflict sparked by a cunning Kansas regulatory maneuver to expand concentrated swine feeding operations and the response of an environmental organization claiming state regulators embraced legal fiction to weaken surface water protections.

The Sierra Club won a lawsuit four years ago in Shawnee County District Court challenging farmer Terry Nelson and his partners for sidestepping maximum limits on the number of hogs packed into a single location near a creek. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment had collaborated with the Nelson family to add about 2,400 hog units at a farm in Phillips County.

The population surge was accomplished when the Nelsons were allowed by KDHE to draw a property line down the middle of an existing hog production facility to create two limited liability companies. Approval of two permits allowed the Nelson hog operation to surge capacity without moving facilities a greater distance from open water.

August 5, 2021
June 15, 2021
May 26, 2021
January 2, 2020