Corporate Hog Operation Threatens Aquifer in Greeley County, Kansas
Irrigation is no longer an option in Kansas’s smallest county, reports the Baldwin City Signal. After decades of overuse, the water source beneath Greeley County’s arid prairie has been sucked dry. Five years ago, county residents voted to allow a massive corporate hog-feeding operation to move in, thinking hogs use less water than crops.
The taxes Seaboard Foods pay have been a boon to the area, but the operation has tapped into long-dormant wells. And some residents fear the ploy was a mistake, and the hogs are going to use all of the county’s water. The Kansas Geological Survey says large-scale irrigation, beginning in the 50s, has drained the Ogallala Aquifer in Greeley County for most agricultural purposes. With little rain, the aquifer replenishes only an inch a year. Meanwhile, hogs will soon outnumber county residents 275 to 1. The waste they produce is comparable to that of 1 million people.