I’ve heard from a number of lawmakers and stakeholders that the governor is having ongoing discussions about state-funded, independent testing on the C & H hog farm in Mt. Judea, which has sparked controversy because of its location by a tributary of the Buffalo River. The state would contract with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture to conduct nutrient and bacteria monitoring on soil and water on and near the farm. The scope of the project is unclear at this point.
“The governor has been looking for a way that we can work within existing state laws and regulations to have as much monitoring on the hog farm operation as possible,” said Matt DeCample, Gov. Mike Beebe’s spokesman. “What he wants to do is to propose using rainy day funds, which would need legislative approval, to do ongoing testing and monitoring up along that part of the watershed. We’re working with the University of Arkansas on that.”
DeCample said that the project is “by no means a done deal” and that he had no details at this time about what the testing might entail. The C&H farmers are on board, but they also need permission from the various landowners that the farmers lease from.
DeCample said there was no timetable on a formal announcement or proposal.