LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas officials announced Monday, Jan. 6, that the closure of a hog farm near the Buffalo River has been completed, months after striking a deal with the facility's owners.
The statewide report by the Associated Press stated that Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst announced that the terms of the state's agreement with the owners of C&H Hog Farms Inc. are complete. The shuttered hog farm's owners have received $6.2 million in state and private funds that was held in escrow since last August and the state in return now holds a conservation easement for the property.
Under the agreement, the state will be responsible for the closure of the waste ponds at the property. Waste from the hogs was stored in those ponds and later spread on approved pastureland. Environmentalists feared waste could leak into nearby Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo National River.
C&H had applied for renewal of its permit to operate the liquid animal waste management system, but the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality denied the permit in January 2018.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson in June announced the settlement with the 6,500-hog farm in Vendor, about 95 miles northwest of Little Rock, which had been the source of controversy since it was permitted several years ago. The Nature Conservancy provided $1 million of the funding.
"All hogs are gone from the property, and the operation is now closed," Hutchinson said. "I appreciate the willingness of the farmers to work with us on this, and now look forward to the work that the state will be doing to ensure that the Buffalo National River continues to be the treasure that it is."