Aurora Dairy President Scott McGinty, left, and Dr. Juan Velez, Aurora Dairy’s director of ag operations, responded to questions submitted from the crowd. Last week’s meeting drew more than 120 people. (Johnson Publications photo)

Panelist Bart Stromberger, standing, explained the dairy heifer development program being undertaken by his family operation. He was joined by, from left, son Ryan, dairy herd supervisor Dave Nance and consultant  Dean Settje. (Johnson Publications photo)

Livestock expansion meeting draws big crowd to Imperial

    More than 120 attended an information meeting on livestock expansion in Chase County Friday, Jan. 12. Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango organized the meeting held at the fairgrounds.
    Hughes said he wanted people to get first-hand knowledge on two proposed livestock expansion projects in the county.
    These include an organic dairy proposed northwest of Imperial by Aurora Dairy, based in Colorado, and a dairy heifer finishing yard planned by Stromberger Farms southwest of Champion.  
    Hughes used a panel format, with each party addressing their project. He also included Charley Colton, County Planning Commission Chair, to outline zoning issues for the projects.
    Colton told attendees the county zoning regulations require a setback for intensive livestock operations based on animal units.
    For Class I, 300-1000 units, the required setback is 1,000 feet from the nearest neighbor. For Class II: 1,001-5,000 units, 1 mile; Class III: 5,001 to 20,000 units, 1.5 miles; Class IV: 20,000 and above, two miles.
Aurora Dairy proposal
    Most of those attending wanted to hear more about the proposed project of Boulder, Colo.-based Aurora Dairy.
    Hughes said he’s neutral on the issue but wanted to get the facts to people versus the rumor mill or coffee shop talk.
    He was pleased Aurora Dairy’s president, Scott McGinty, was present to explain their plans and answer questions from the crowd.
    McGinty was accompanied by Dr. Juan Velez, who oversees all the company’s ag operations, including dairy farms and herd health, along with pasture and crop management.
    McGinty said the company plans to add a milk processing facility in Columbia, Mo., in addition their plant in Platteville, Colo.,
    Expansion of dairy operations in Chase County would allow organic milk produced here to be shipped to either Columbia or Platteville, McGinty said.
    He emphasized throughout his presentation they want the Chase County site to  play a key role in their cow-to-carton supply chain.

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