Tonopah residents angry over Hickman's new egg facility

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by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

azfamily.com

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 13 at 11:47 AM

TONOPAH, Ariz. -- Many Tonopah residents aren't happy about the new Hickman's Family Farms facility coming to the area.

People flocked to a community meeting Thursday night to voice their concerns about a new egg-processing facility to Hickman's top brass.

"Why are you putting a stench factory in the middle of a residential neighborhood?" one concerned resident asked during the meeting.

Folks from Hickman's Family Farms tried to ease concerns about the mammoth facility they're planning to plop near 411th Avenue and Indian School Road, just outside Tonopah.

"We're trying to give as much information as possible to the community," Billy Hickman said. "There's a lot of people that have concerns of what the impact of our facility will make on Tonopah and the surrounding area."

Those anxieties range from manure smell, to water contamination, to the 20 or so trucks hauling eggs, manure and feed through Tonopah daily.

"Why don't you clean up Arlington before you move out here and give us the same thing?" another resident asked at the meeting.

Even labor has people worried because Hickman's uses prisoners on work release.
  
"We have a lot of residents and businesses that have been here a long time and it really is unfair to have them just come in and do a lot of damage to existing people, their homes, their land and the businesses out here," said Rick Moreau with the Tonopah Valley Community Council.

Hickman's assures the 2.2 million chickens that will be out there by August aren't going to be a nuisance due to new technology based on lessons learned at their other farm just southeast of Tonopah, in Arlington.

"The manure handling systems are totally different than what we have currently, so there will be no outside exposure, there won't be manure processing on site, it will be hauled off," Hickman said.

But not everybody's convinced and many people would be happier if there was a little more distance between the farm and Tonopah.
  
The facility would be considered agricultural land, which can't be regulated at the municipal level so there's no way for these residents to stop the farm from moving in.

The company says it will have the facility up and running by August. They will start with about 2 million chickens with a full capacity between 6 and 8 million.

 

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